"It's easy, don't worry about it." Ashely reassured me as we walked down the long hallway with the group.
Today was the first day of combat experience, and since Ashely was a senior esper, with honors, she was going to be leading our group through the course. I honestly didn't know why I had signed up for this, seeing as I had nothing to contribute save for telling our team how the enemy is feeling today. Perhaps I just let my father's war stories catch my better judgment.
We left in large capsules running along a transit system. While en route to the course the senior members briefed us on our objective, and set us up as squads. There were three squads in all, each with their respective commander. The senior members would be following us around and giving us instructions, but wouldn't participate. I was assigned the leader of the 1st squad, a position which I'm sure Ashley had wanted. There were six in my group including Claire, Jessica, and Stephanie, which was probably also planned by Ashely. The other two girls seemed distant, but I didn't really feel slipping was necessary. Instead, I went for more of a diplomatic approach.
We were going to be up against three other squads, they took a separate capsule and would show up on the other side of a long maze-like battlefield.
"Don't worry Pink," Ashely reassured me, "There are all kinds of electromagnetic fields spread out across the battlefield to amplify your powers."
Yeah, that'll help me.
"What I'm saying," Ashely continued, in response to my facial expression, "If you know anything about magnetic waves, you'll know that they work exponentially."
"So?" I inquired.
The other senior answered, "That means the stronger you are going in, the stronger you'll become. If what I heard is true, you'll be a juggernaut."
How does that help me if I don't have any powers that can actually be used offensively? If I concentrate long enough, I might be able to give the stronger ones headaches. That'll be a great help while the other team makes my body fly like a flailing rag doll through the air. Do they honestly expect me to 'defense' the other team into defeat?
We all exited the capsule to see a huge room with a ceiling high enough to give even the most expert climbers vertigo. About 2 and a half meter high walls created a gigantic labyrinth with several entrances stemming off from our beginning platform. The sheer magnitude of my surroundings gave me an uneasy feeling.
We wore our Psy Aca uniforms into the battlefield, we didn't appear to have any form of armor, save a few small force field generators on our heads, and around our spines. As we entered the maze it was clear that we weren't going to be seeing much of our enemies.
"We'll never be able to find the other side in all this!" Jessica exclaimed.
"Find them? Why even try? The maze probably doesn't even connect." I responded.
"Pink just hit the nail on the head, your goal isn't to find them, it's to capture their flag." said Ashley.
Bewilderment swept across the crowd. I thought I understood the rules, but apparently not.
"It's simple," the other senior said, "all you have to do is find your way through the maze to wherever the flag is, then bring it back here. The other sides maze and our maze never connect, but they're interlinked like crazy. Someone from the other side could literally be right on the other side of a wall from you, and you'd be surprised how often that actually happens. All the squads need to communicate with each other, but have a little independence at the same time. Also, just a little hint, the other side's flag is right in the middle of your side."
"Which means our flag is surrounded by enemy territory." A girl from my squad pointed out. She was short, with thick glasses and short brown hair.
"Also," Ashely began, "I'd like to inform you that y'all are a class. You'll be working a lot together, so keep that in mind. You're class 1B. The "B" means you're the second, and the one means your the cream of the crop. There are five classes in all, five having little to no psychic powers, and one being highly proficient in the use of psychic abilities. The letter doesn't say anything about your powers, it's just a way to split you guys up. We try to even classes out as much as possible."
"You guys are the ones that pick classes?" Another girl asked.
"Nope, we don't even get to see them before hand." Ashely winked at me.
"That's enough of that. Most of the lessons left to learn involve actually participating, so now we have about 15 minutes until your first game starts. Use your time wisely." Ashley concluded.
"Alright." This from the brown haired girl from before, and everyone looked at her, even the girls from the other squads. She seemed suddenly surprised. Public speaking probably wasn't her thing, but I can empathize."We need to know what we have at our disposal if we plan to actually form a legit strategy."
I nodded my agreement, but she didn't seem to notice.
"Do you know anything about strategy when it comes to psychic wars, Pink?" Claire asked me.
"There haven't been any wars yet involving psychic's on both sides. The closest thing I can think of would be Atlantic U-boat battles."
"What?" was the response from most of the girls around me. "U-boats?"
"German submarines from World War II," the brown haired girl clarified as she pushed her glasses up on her nose.
"Well, it's not quite the same because of the maze structure. But what they did was send two planes that were positioned at the end of the battleships out. Then the planes went in oval like patterns spreading father and farther out with each revolution. The planes didn't attack, but were equipped with radar that could eventually seek out the German U-boat, then they could radio the position back to the battleship. The rest should be obvious enough.
"So we need a group of people to act as radar, and another group to act as the battleship. We'll go around the group, everyone say your name, what powers you have, and your favorite color."
"Our favorite color?" Asked the brown haired girl.
"Like Ashley said, we're going to be working a lot together. Best get to know each other a little."
"Fine, you start." The girl responded.
"Okay, fine. I'm Isaac, but everyone calls me Pink. Don't ask why. I don't have many useful powers to name, but I'm okay at mental blocks. Also, I'm quite partial to blue."
"I'm Jessica. I have telepathy, and I'm really good at overshadowing."
"Overshadowing?" I asked.
"It's when you talk to someone telepathically loud and obnoxiously. It prevents them from thinking."
I nodded for her to continue.
"Oh, and my favorite color is pink." She smiled widely and winked at me, then turned to look at the next person.
"I'm Claire, and I can alter perceptions, I haven't quite got illusions down, but I can make people hear stuff and throw them way off. And my favorite color's brown."
"I'm Stephanie, and I have telepathy too. I can also kind of stun people, and my favorite color is green."
"My name's Priscilla, and I can do mental blocks too, but only for me. And my favorite color is pink too."
Now was the brown haired girls turn. She seemed embarrassed, but again, I can empathize.
"My name's Hope. I know how to do mental blocks, and I can stun people, but I have to be pretty close."
"We're going to do this again as soon as we leave the battlefield," I said. "Only next time it'll be your favorite class, so think about that while we're out there."
A few girls chuckled, it looked like the other two squads followed our lead. I met with the two other squad leaders after the circles were finished.
"We heard your speech on U-boats." the other girl said. She had mean eyes and black hair but looked too young to be here.
"Alright, what do you guys have?"
"Well," the other girl started. She was much kinder, with short red hair in a boyish haircut and clean bright blue eyes. "My squad has a lot of stunners, and telepathy."
"We have a three illusionists, apparently one of them can even make real visuals. Pretty much everyone has either telepathy or mental projection though, so we'd be a good radar."
"Perfect. My squad has a good mix. I'm an expert in mental barriers, and I have two proficient in blocks, so I'm going to take my group to penetrate enemy territory and grab the flag. You two stay back and work together as radar and battleship. It might be a good idea to mix your squads together and match up pairs of seers are attackers."
"Times up!" Ashley yelled from behind us.
"Let's do this," the black haired girl said as we regrouped.
"Alright, everyone hear the plan?" a few yeses and a couple of nods rose in response from my squad. "Good, Let's go."
I hope those amplifiers work like Ashley says. Creating a shield around all six of us is going to be a walk through hell.
"Don't worry, Pink," Jessica spoke to me telepathically. "With your mental powers, we've already won."