Chapter 41: Training Montage
"That's a lot of babies," Alexander smiled. "I love how cute and tiny they look!"
He had his face pressed against the glass window, peering eagerly into the maternity ward where over a dozen YoRHa gynoids – predominantly O-types, as they were the first models given the upgrades – were sitting together on lounge-style couches, cradling newborn children in their arms, who were swaddled in white blankets.
"Yup! This batch of newborns was a nice and easy one. And with this, nearly all of the O-types have gotten pregnant," Jaqueline commented at his side. She then smirked at him. "9S is gonna be pretty busy, won't he?"
"Ugh, don't talk to me about that right now, Aunt Jacky," Alexander groaned, closing his eyes in annoyance. "Ever since he and Aunt 2B finally got their upgrades, they've been going at it like rabbits! And then 6O and 21O showed up!"
"There's a reason Hatchet, Sebastian, and I moved out," Jaqueline said.
"You should have taken me with you," Alexander sighed.
"Yeah, I would have, but A2 wouldn't let us," Jaqueline replied. "Though it probably won't be long now before she changes her mind if 2B and 9S keep having 'fun.'"
"Hmm," Alexander said, bobbing his head. "Also, I have another question."
"Why are some of the babies different colors?" Alexander inquired, before frowning to himself. "Wow, that sounded bad for some reason."
"Because they're genetics are different," Jaqueline replied easily. "Most of the human DNA samples YoRHa had on hand before you came around was Cauasian and Asian, specifically German and Japanese phenotypes. It's why the androids mostly resemble 'White' ethnicities. It's the only genetics we had on hand for the biomechanical parts."
"However, your DNA is a lot more diverse than the limited sampling we have," his aunt continued. "From the scans we did, you're 1/16th Native American, and 1/8th Central African. We were able to extract the genetic markers from your ancestral traits and transfer them over, as well as 'expand' them so to speak. The children with darker skin will be half Native American or African."
"Good to know," Alexander said with a nod before going back to gazing fondly at the babies and their mothers. A few minutes later, his emotions cooled, and he shot his aunt a sideways glance before asking, "And how is the other problem coming along?"
Jaqueline's grin fell into a frown. "We've begun to redouble our efforts to observe Purple Athena's base, but those domes have some freaky anti-espionage defenses and cybersecurity suites. The best we can do right now is observe from a far."
"And?" Alexander urged Jaqueline to continue.
"…She is preparing for war," the gynoid revealed with a heavy sigh. "Machine Lifeforms pour from the domes in numbers not seen since the start of the 10thMachine War. And there are variants we have never encountered. We fear she will begin to march upon us soon."
"How soon?" Alexander demanded.
"Within a year," Jaqueline claimed. "At least, that is what the analysts say."
"It is currently summer… will she wait until spring of next year to begin advancing upon us?" Alexander inquired.
"I think so," Jaqueline said slowly. "After all, snow and poor weather can slow down both Machines and androids. But then again, she's a complete basket case. Who know what she'll do?"
Alexander grimaced at that. He didn't like to admit it, but his aunt was correct. Purple was a few screws loose, and unless she started to radically change her opinions about humans and artificial lifeforms, then conflict was inevitable.
The androids weren't going to allow anything to harm their chances of reviving humanity, and the Machine Lifeforms who'd been freed from the control of the Network would fight viciously to maintain their independence. Even the more violent Machines who weren't part of Pascal's group and still hated the androids would hate losing their freedom and becoming pawns even more. Purple Athena would find herself bereft of allies, save the ones she built herself.
'And isn't that just a scary thought?' Alexander mused to himself thoughtfully. 'She's created a brand-new Network all for the army she's making. Legions of loyal followers, ready to fight at her command…'
The human shook his head morosely. "I need to step up my training," he sighed.
"Yeah," Jaqueline agreed. "Who knows what might happen in the future. We'll do our best to keep you safe, but that can only go so far. Better you know how to defend yourself against the worst things Purple Athena can throw at you."
A smirk then slipped onto the Resistance gynoid's face. "Which is why I've asked White to get a few sparring partners ready for you."
"I don't like the look on your face," Alex said with a worried frown. "That smile of yours never bodes well for anyone."
"You know me so well!" Jaqueline said with a cackle of amusement. There was a 'whoosh!' as the doors to the observation room slid open, and a pair of gynoids walked in.
Both were beautiful, as all YoRHa creations tended to be, but there were clear differences between the two. The first major one was size. One was nearly two feet shorter than her companion, standing only five-foot one inch in height. Not even the heels helped make her seem taller. She had long, platinum blonde hair done up in twin-tails and wielded a modified rifle of some sort.
The other gynoid was almost seven feet tall, and had blue hair done up in a ponytail. Her weapon was a scythe. Both were clad in black and maid YoRHa style outfits that looked a lot like French Maid uniforms.
Alexander shot a suspicious look towards his aunt, who carefully avoided meeting his eyes.
"Meet 7E and 23E, Executioner models who are not only going to be your trainers, but also your bodyguards," Jaqueline said instead, introducing the duo to Alex.
"Pleased to meet you," Alexander said politely, offering his hand to shake.
"Eeee! I'm so excited!" 7E shouted, grabbing the hand and pumping it enthusiastically. "To be able to work with you in person, and not just watch you from the shadows, is such a blessing!"
"Wait, what?" Alexander uttered, before being cut off by 23E.
"Hello, master," 23E said in a reverent tone, bowing to him. "It is my pleasure to serve you."
"Same!" 7E chimed in.
"Go back to the part about you two spying on me, please," Alexander said in a deadpan voice.
"Oh, it's nothing to worry about," Jaqueline said dismissively. "The E-types have been secretly watching over you ever since your existence was revealed to YoRHa. I mean, did you really think White would just let you go around with just A2 and the rest as protection?"
"Kinda, yeah," Alexander replied with a frown. "Are they going to keep spying on me?"
"Yes," all three gynoids said.
"You're not getting out of being protected that easily," Jaqueline said dryly.
"First things first, though!" 7E declared. "We have to do some sparring to see where you are currently at, combat wise."
Her grin turned slightly feral and blood-thirsty. "Come on, let's see what we're working with!"
"Woo! Go Alex! You can do it!" Jaqueline shouted from the sidelines as she watched her 'nephew' get kicked around up and down the court.
"Come on, faster, faster!" 7E shouted as she fired her gun at Alex. "Dodge the shots!"
"Crap on a pogo-stick!" Alexander shouted, barely managing to evade the barrage of energy bullets being fired at him. A couple still managed to clip the shield he'd surrounded his body with, and it flickered as it was weakened.
"Quantity over quality! That's the Machine way of fighting!" 7E cackled. "Unless you can dodge everything they throw at you, there's no way to stand on the battlefield alongside us!"
"You have Evasion Mod-Chips that let you auto-dodge!" Alexander shouted back. "I don't!"
"Then you better get better at making shields, because we're turning up the heat! 23E! Show him the true meaning of pain!"
Wordlessly, the other Executioner lunged at Alexander, her scythe swinging at his neck. It shattered the shield around him in a single blow, and only a quick Jump spell kept him from getting damaged.
"Yes! Yes! Fighting involves more than just two dimensions when you can be as mobile as that!" 7E cried gleefully. "Take to the skies to dodge and getter a better vantage point! And when you land, learn how to pull off some slam attacks to clear out any nearby foes!"
"Rah!" Alex shouted, and was engulfed in a burning white aura a moment later. He then began to move fast, faster than he had, but still not quick enough to match 23E's speed.
Still, he didn't need to reach her. Instead, he flung his hands out, and a shockwave rippled forth, smashing into the scythe wielding Execution and flinging her back. When she landed on the ground, glowing sigils appeared, and ethereal white chains lashed out, binding her in place.
"That's it! Use your magic more! Are those spell for show or what?!" 7E cackled. "You don't need to rely on a POD for those super attacks!"
She then fired a shot at Alex, but he deflected it with a bubble shield. He then ran at 7E, still protected by the barrier, and made to ram into her. Spike grew from the bubble and Alex turned into a spiky ram, but 7E twisted away and drew a second weapon from a holster on her back.
This one turned out to be an Uzi, or at least something like it. A hail of bullets peppered Alex's shield as 7E darted away from the human, making distance between them.
"Celestial Spears!" Alexander chanted, and a dozen silver-white lances made of pure energy rose up out of the ground, forming a crude cage around 7E, stopping her in her tracks.
He then fired the spikes off of his shield at her, and the twin-tailed gynoid didn't have enough room to dodge or use her weapons to parry. She was hit by the spikes, and knocked back into the Celestial Spears, which zapped her painful. When they vanished, she lay sprawled on the ground, sizzling with tendrils of smoke drifting off of her.
"Well done!" Jaqueline said, clapping proudly as she approached Alexander once the fight was over. "You did quite well."
"I did? I mean, of course I did," Alexander said, panting heavily, though he straightened up with pride at her words.
"Yup! You're now able to fight at the same level as an average Resistance model," Jaqueline announced, her smile turning feral. "We're going to amp your training up to the next level, which means getting you into fighting shape to the degree of an elite Resistance commando model."
Alexander's jaw dropped in shock, along with a considerable amount of disbelief and horror, and off to the side 23E flexed a bit, the chains on her shattering and fading to nothing. 7E then leapt to her feet, looking none the worse despite how scuffed up her outfit was.
"I- what?" he stammered, bewildered.
"You didn't think I'd have you fighting at Executioner levels right off the bat, did you?" Jaqueline teased. "No, you start at the bottom and work your way to the top, kiddo."
She tossed him a towel and a bottle of water, which he unconsciously caught.
"Get cleaned up. You did okay for your first day of practice. Tomorrow will be much, much more grueling," the Resistance gynoid promised, and Alexander could only offer a whimper of pain.
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