Why hello their friends, been some time huh? I'm sorry for the delay. I hope you enjoy the chapter.
'Why can shit ever go the way I want?' Naruko thought angrily as she pressed her back against the wall of the house she was in. The sound of Octoling soldiers barking orders at their subordinates could be heard from outside
With her was Nova, who was similarly pressed against the wall "Any ideas Agent 0?" She said as she peeked out the window to throw a modified Splatbomb at the approaching Octoling soldiers, killing the lot of them.
"I thought you said they didn't notice you!" Naruko responded as she fired her Hero Shot at the soldiers causing them to scatter at the realisation that it wasn't nonlethal rounds being fired at them.
Nova shrugged "Random inspection… did the others get out okay?"
"Yeah. I have someone topside that'll get them to safety, so let's mop up these idiots and get the fuck out of here."
"I couldn't agree more! You take the left."
And with that the two of them broke cover and rushed the soldiers on their respective sides.
"Fall back! The Agent is using HP weaponry. Let the Commandos handle- urk!" The Octoling captain was silenced by a kukri to the gut. "Sorry friend, but you lot ain't leaving here alive." Naruko said before tearing the kukri out of the captain, only to slash her across the throat with it.
"Nova, how are things on your end?" Naruko asked as she double checked that the soldiers were indeed dead.
"Just mopping up the last one now. Lucky for us the comms for the security force in this dome are undergoing maintenance so we should be clear."
"Good… When you are finished get yourself topside. The meeting point is at the southern end of Tentakeel outpost."
"What about you? I said before that I can help with the-"
"Nova… you've done more than enough. You went above and beyond getting me the Intel and I sure as hell ain't gonna let you risk getting captured and executed when you are so close to living free. So go, I can handle things from here."
"I...I *sigh* ok Zero, you win… may the Goddess of the Deep watch over you my friend."
"And may she guide you to warm tides."
With that the comms went quiet "Alright.. time get a move on." From here on in, Naruko was on her own.
'I really hope that they get to the rendezvous alright.. shit if things went to plan I wouldn't be kicking this off a day early.'
Earlier she had received an SOS from Nova. It seemed that a routine inspection had gone wrong and that one of the soldiers had stumbled across some information detailing the extraction plan in Takoyai's home that hadn't been stowed away.. So Naruko rushed to the dome, only to find Nova and her group pinned down by the inspection unit. And well, the rest is history really… but now she had no choice but to initiate the mission alone.
Sooner or later the inspection unit will be noticed missing and then the Dome will go into lockdown, and seeing as whatever was happening in Facility H was apparently so clandestine that not even Nova could get proper Intel other then it was likely something to do with a new prototype you could bet your ass that they would scuttle the facility during the lockdown.
So it was now or never. God's above she just knew the others would tear her head off for going it alone. And to think they actually had a decent plan in place.
-one day earlier-
"Okay then. Since we're all here let's begin."
Naruko stood at the foot of a long table. On the left were Callie and Marie, and on the right were Ekolu and oddly enough Pearl. Behind Naruko was Captain Cuttlefish.
"As you know the infiltration is on the 21st. And seeing as we have a new member I figured we should do a preliminary briefing to get everyone up to speed." Naruko explained getting a nod from the Squid Sisters.
A holographic depiction of Dome #86 appeared in front of them. "This is Residential Dome #86. It is one of the lower sectors in Octo Canyon and thus in theory should be relatively undefended. It has zero military value and by all means is the literal definition of a shithole and as such it falls under the jurisdiction of the Slimeskin Garrison cluster." Naruko said as she brought up various images of the dome. The others winced at the poorly maintained slum as well as the dirty looking upper sector.
With a flick of her hand the hologram zoomed in on the western part of the Dome "However, recent Intel had shown that one of main experimental RD facilities for the Octo-Weapons is actually in this shit fest, so kudos to them for using their own people to hide it I guess. Now with the current situation this would be ignored as right now our primary focus is retrieving the Zapfish. But recently, we received information of a possible prototype Octo-Weapon in the works called Project Genesis. Literally no information on this prototype exists other than what we have… something that is extremely odd as no data other than what our informant was able to lift when she was at Facility H exists in any of the Octarian databanks."
"Why was the informant at the Facility? I thought she was part of the Wasabi Replenishment Squad." Callie asked as she looked at the information they had in Nova.
"She was there to recruit some up and coming engineer to the unit. Word is the girl is the one to have designed the new version of the Flooder, so I'm guessing she got a promotion."
Marie glared at the hologram "And we just let her? Naruko, how many times have we nearly bit it due to those death machines?"
"She got promoted weeks ago so there isn't anything we can do… besides she's just a kid, and I don't exactly feel right with assassinating a sixteen year old." Naruko bit back.
The conversation continued on for a while longer before Naruko got to the infiltration plan. The plan itself was simple,
Phase 1: Naruko, Callie, Marie and Ekolu would rendezvous with Nova and her group. A headcount will be done to ensure that everyone is accounted for. There are five individuals that are part of the group, Takoyai a former Octarian Commando from back during the war, Sustri an engineer, Nova who we discovered is indeed Takoyai's Granddaughter, Zakan a former Soldier and lastly Aya who is Nova's younger sister.
Phase 2: Ekolu will escort Nova and her group back up to Tenakeel Outpost and then to the Kettle in the Valley that leads to Calamari County. Pearl would be waiting with a van to take them to a safe house for debrief.
Phase 3: Once it has been confirmed that Ekolu and the others are safely out of the dome, the infiltration team will enter through the sewers and make their way to the facility. From there they will push towards the central security room and neutralize any guards stationed there. Marie will stay behind in the security room to keep an eye on the cameras and to direct Naruko and Callie.
Phase 3.5: Naruko and Callie will make their way to the main data storage room and download all information on Project Genesis as well as the schematics for the other Octo-Weapons. Afterwards they will erase everything in the data hub and then make their way to the RD floor to destroy Genesis before it can be activated.
Phase 4: Naruko and Callie will link up with Marie and head to back towards the infiltration point.
Optionally, if things go awry Agents 0,1 and 2 have permission to level the Facility via planting explosives in the main generator room. This however should be a last resort.
"Any questions?" Naruko asked.
Callie raised her hand "How long is our window?"
"It'll be a three and a half hour window to get in, erase Project Genesis and to get out. There is going to be a dome wide meeting at the centre of the residential quarter, something about planning the celebration of their 'inevitable victory'." Naruko said getting a chuckle from Callie and Marie "Oh please. Like we'll let those musically impaired bastards beat us." Marie said with a scoff.
Callie rubbed her chin "So we will be in and out before dinner huh? Neat."
"Yep, and Pearl's buying" Naruko said with a grin "Hey! If I'm buying I'm choosing." Pearl responded indignantly.
"Oh fuck no. Knowing you, you will probably choose that Burrito place at the Reef." Marie said causing Pearl to glare at her "Oh come on! Don't act like you don't like their Triple Deluxe Burrito."
"Oh I do," Marie said as a smirk appeared on her face "But I'd rather not be subjected to getting gassed out by you again Pearlie." She finished with her usual snark.
Pearl's face flushed a bright red "That was one time!" She yelled, causing Naruko and Callie to laugh.
"Yeah and one time was enough. God's, it smelled like a corpse in the car for days."
While Pearl was attempting to murder Marie with thought alone Ekolu asked a question "Didn't you mention something about the sewers being extremely dangerous?"
Callie and Marie look at Naruko who nodded in confirmation "Yeah, we're gonna need to be on our toes down there. I've done some research and if I'm honest, if there was another option for infiltration I'd take it."
"Why? I mean yeah it's a sewer so it'll probably fucking smell horrible, but I'm not understanding why it'll be dangerous. What is there some kind of high-tech defence system or something?" Callie asked
Naruko let out a sigh "Ok look. What I'm about to show you guys is serious so keep your smart ass comments to yourselves." Naruko said, as an image of a Salmonid appeared in front of the. "I've done extensive research and what I found quite frankly both disgusts and horrifies me due to the fact that they are the leading cause of Octoling children going missing."
Marie rolled her eyes "Just goes to show how incompetent the Octarians are- Christ on a bike what the fuck is that!?" She shouted in horror as the image changed.
The reactions of the others were similar as the image changed to one of something horrifying.
Instead of a normal Salmonid was an abomination. It was covered in sickly grey scales, gone were the orange fins and in their place were replaced with sick greenish blue fins. The eyes of the creature were sunken in and pale signifying possible blindness and in its mouth was two rows of grotesque yellow teeth.
"W-what the hell is that?" Callie asked shakily.
"That… is a deep cave subspecies of the Salmonids. From Dome #75 through to #104 these monstrosities popped up around forty-fifty years ago and lurk in the sewers and in between the outer layers. They have been an ongoing problem for the last thirty years and show no signs of stopping. It's speculated that they were caused by pollution… but from what I have seen that appears to be false." Naruko explained as she looked at the bright green mucus that oozed from the creature's gills . "Remember a year ago how Domes #105 through #110 went dark? That's how dangerous these things are."
Callie went pale at the thought. And they had to possibly deal with.. with these monsters?
"And those things are in the sewers!? Fucking god damn it Naruko, you didn't think to tell us about them sooner!" Marie shouted angrily. Naruko looked away. "I only found out about that last part recently."
"Oh and you think that makes it any better!? Nuh uh not fucking happening, its not worth risking our lives over something that may or may not even exist."
"Hey if you want to pussy out then fine. I'll just go it alone." Naruko shrugged
"Like hell you are!"
"Then shut the fuck up and sit down Marie!" Naruko roared back "I am perfectly capable of doing this on my own, but because someone couldn't keep their mouth shut it's been turned into a team op." She said glaring at Callie.
But before things could spiral out of hand Ekolu cut in "Umm.. one question. Horrifying fish monstrosities aside, why is Pearl involved? I thought she wasn't an Agent."
"It's because they needed a big vehicle to get Takoyai's people out so they asked the Old Man." Pearl said as she leaned back.
"The..Old Man? You mean the Cap'n?" Ekolu asked confusedly. Pearl shook her head negatively. "Eko lemme ask you a question. Where do you think the NSS gets its funds"
"Uhh.. government stipend?"
Craig let out a chuckle "Oh I wish squiddo. The best I could do was get us seen as a legal organisation." He said almost spitefully.
"C'mon Gramps, it's not your fault that one idiot in the Inkopolis Council thinks you are crazy." Callie muttered.
"Anyway as I was saying." Pearl interjected "Seeing as the old timer couldn't get official funding he asked my grandfather. And seeing as they served together you can bet your ass Grandpa was down." The shorter girl explained.
"Oooh.. so that's who Ferdinand is."
"How do you know about him?" The Captain asked.
Ekolu's eyes widened "U-uhh… I overheard one of you muttering something about a Ferdinand… so I asked Naruko, but she said it wasn't important.." she said weakly under the elder Inklings gaze.
Craig frowned for a moment before shrugging. It's not like she wouldn't learn about where their funds come from sooner or later.
After that they decided to call an end to the meeting. They would hold a full briefing on the day of the mission, so for now they called it a day and went back to what they were doing before.
"So… how've you been Greenie?" Pearl asked as she sat on the couch.
Marie looked up from her phone for a moment "Greenie? Pearl you haven't called me that since we were kids."
Pearl shrugged and took a sip of her drink "Meh semantics… but you didn't answer me.. so spill, how've ya been."
Marie just shrugged "I've been better.. I'm still getting hounded by reporters because of the stuff with mine and Callie's former manager. But hey, at least they stopped annoying Callie."
Well that was good. What? Was it so surprising that she was curious about how the two were doing. Yeah sure she was still angry about the situation with them and Naruko, but they were still her best friends.
"Y'know… my mum got surprisingly mad when the news reported on that stuff." Ekolu chimed in.
Both Marie and Pearl looked at her oddly "What did she think Naruko was a girlfriend beating bitch as well?" Marie said snidely. But Ekolu shook her head "Nope, she was going on about how Naruko would never do that and that the information they had was clearly bullshit… which is weird because I'm pretty sure she has never met her." Ekolu explained.
"Maybe your mother likes to watch the Pro League matches and is a fan?" Pearl said with a shrug.
"Probably. She is a recruiter after all." Both Pearl and Marie froze.
"Umm.. a recruiter for what?" Marie asked cautiously.
"Hm? Oh, she's part of the Inkopolis Self Defence Force."
Marie let out the breath she was holding.
"Holy shit, your mum is in the ISDF?" Pearl exclaimed in shock.
"Yeah, and my dad was part of the Coast Guard back at the Ausila Islands." The younger girl said with a small smile.
Things got quiet after that. The three Inklings just sat there, either on their phones or just sitting quietly.
"So… what's your mum's name?" Marie asked suddenly.
Marie shrugged "We've worked with the ISDF in the past. Maybe I know her." She explained with a bored look.
"Oh.. well ok I guess.." However, before Ekolu could finish Callie came storming through the living room from the basement and went into the kitchen.
"Wow.. what's gotten her so pissy?" Pearl muttered.
Ekolu and Marie shrugged.
"Anyway, you were saying?" Marie said moving her hand in an 'out with it's manner.
"Oh! Um yeah… her name is K-"
"WHO THE HELL ATE MY PUDDING!"
Suddenly, Ekolu had an urge to hide.
"Marie! Did you eat it again!" Callie shouted from the kitchen.
"Probably.. was it the one sitting next to ginger beer or the one next to the packet of mushrooms?" Marie shouted back.
"The one next to the mushrooms." Callie replied as she walked out of the kitchen.
"Then it was probably Naruko then. You know how I don't like that brand." Marie said with a shrug as Callie sat down next to her with a pout.
"Of course it was her...ugh now I have to go to MakoMart and buy more." Callie whined. She knew that, that would likely end in her getting swamped by fans. And while she loved her and Marie's fans, they could be a little… much at times.
Like that one time during a Splatfest things go nasty during a match, which lead to a punch up in the Plaza that lasted for nearly ten minutes. Who knew people would take Lemon Tea and Milk Tea so seriously? But that was in the past.
With a tired sigh Callie sluggishly pulled her phone out of her pocket "Shit is it eight-thirty already?"
"Mhm.. we should probably head off. We have a long day ahead of us." Marie said as she rose from the couch. "I'm gonna tell Naruko we are headed home." She said as she made her way down to the basement.
Shortly after, Callie and Marie went in their way. Leaving Ekolu with Pearl.
"Soooo…" Pearl began with a devilish grin. "You ate Callie's pudding hmm?"
Ekolu froze, "N-no.."
Pearl let out a laugh "Ahaha calm down kid, I ain't gonna tattle."
"Then why bring it up!"
Pearl just grinned "Because it's fun watching you squirm." She said smugly
Ekolu stared blankly at her "You're a bitch you know that." Pearl simply laughed in return "Don't lie, you love it." She said with a grin.
Ekolu rolled her eyes but try as she might, she couldn't help but crack a small smile.
"So… your Mum's in the ISDF? Neat."
"Yeah, like I said she is part of their recruitment division."
Pearl nodded her head "You have plans to join them?"
Ekolu shrugged "Yeah I did… but now seeing as I'm part of this…"
"Yeah I get ya… Does your Mum know?"
Ekolu's eyes widened "W-what!? No. I was told this has to be secret."
"Well yeah. But if she is ISDF then chances are she knows." Pearl explained.
"You do realise that the Old Man is legally obligated to give them a copy of your dossier right? So depending on her position she'd definitely know." Pearl said not knowing the hell she had just unleashed.
'Oh god! Ooooh god! I'm dead… She is gonna be so pissed.' Ekolu thought in a panic. 'No, calm down Ekolu. If anything she'll be proud...right?... Oh god who am I kidding! She'll say she's proud and then bend me over her knee and give me a hiding!'
"You ok? You look a bit pale."
Ekolu immediately snapped out of her thoughts "H-huh? Yeah.. I.. I'm fine." She said but Pearl looked unconvinced.
"Is this about her giving you that black eye you had a few weeks back?" Pearl asked cautiously.
'What? How does she? What does that have to do with… oh my fucking god' Ekolu internally facepalmed. Naruko must have told Pearl about the whole black eye stuff… meaning she thought-
"Because like, if she's abusing you Craig could do something about it." Pearl said softly.
"She's not abusing me!" Ekolu shouted. Causing Pearl to recoil back.
After a moment of awkward silence Ekolu continued "It… it was the only time it happened. She's never gotten to the point that she's hit me before."
"Ekolu.. she still-"
"She's just.. she's just going through some shit ok. She doesn't usually drink that much.." Oh great, now she's made it sound even worse.
"Still… if you need a hand.." quietly.
There was an awkward moment of silence before Ekolu spoke up.
"My mum's not a bad person… she just.. she went through some bad shit a few years before I was born…. And I know that's no excuse but believe me when I say she isn't like that."
Pearl looked unsure for a moment before slowly nodding "If you're sure…"
"Trust me. What happened that night was entirely unintended… and as bad as it sounds, I was kinda being a bitch when it happened." Ekolu murmured softly.
Ekolu let out a sigh "We had an argument that morning.. and I must have said something to set her off, because when I got home later that evening she was just sitting there. And before you say anything, I know the signs of her having an episode.. and I ignored them and tried to start the argument again." The younger girl explained.
Pearl nodded slightly "What was the argument about?"
Ekolu looked down in shame "It was something stupid." She muttered.
"Like? C'mon, I won't judge." Pearl pushed but Ekolu remained silent. "What did she ground you or something?"
Ekolu didn't respond. Pearl let out a sigh "Fine. I won't pressure you yo-"
"I called her a bad mother." Pearl sat back slightly shocked.
"We were arguing over the fact that I was staying out late playing Turf War.. she sat me down that morning and told me that she was worried and that she wanted to take a week or two off… but I didn't listen. Instead I got angry and started yelling at her." Ekolu said sadly. "She just sat there, not saying a word until I was finished. And when she finally did say something it was that she was only bringing it up because I wasn't sleeping much and she was concerned...I stormed out after that and didn't come back until that night..and when I got back I saw that she had a few to drink and I just started yelling at her again." She finished.
Pearl sat back on the couch "Shit...no offence, but fuck you acted like a bitch." Ekolu nodded "Yeah.."
"Have you talked to her since?"
Ekolu winced. She hadn't actually spoken to her since that night… nor had she texted her. "N-no… I haven't."
"Then give call her, and tell her you are ok. Fuck she is probably freaking out."
Ekolu balked at the thought of calling her "B-but you said she probably knows I'm part of the NSS now. So she would know that I'm-"
"Currently involved in a 'Secret War' with a supposedly extinct enemy. Ekolu, if anything she'd be freaking out even more… seriously, call her." Pearl pushed.
"I...no.. no your right." Ekolu said softly before pulling out her phone. "I should.. I should probably take this to the other room." She murmured as she went through her contacts.
After hitting the dial button she got up and began to walk to the kitchen "Uhh.. H-hey Mum."
Pearl watched her walk off. Looking at her own phone she saw it was now nine thirty.. huh, they had been talking for nearly half an hour.
"I probably should see what Naruko is doing." The short Inkling said to herself as she hopped off the couch. A few minutes later Pearl was walking back up the stairs. However as she was walking towards the living room she couldn't help but overhear some of Ekolu's conversation.
"N-no mum I'm fine. What happened that night was a mistake and… P-please stop crying. No I don't hate you! Mum please, I'm sorry I called you a- No! Mum you aren't a horrible mother!"
Pearl winced slightly. Maybe having her call her mother out of the blue was a mistake.
"Look. I.. you want me to come home for lunch?... Right.. right…. I..I guess I can… love you too mum."
Pearl let out a breath she didn't realise she was holding.
"H-hey Pearl?" Ekolu yelled out softly
"Yeah?" Pearl responded as she walked into the kitchen.
Upon entering she saw the younger girl fidgeting slightly "Do you… do you think you could come with me?" Ekolu asked tentatively.
"To your mum's place?" Ekolu nodded "Y-yeah. She wants me to come over for lunch so we can talk but…"
"You'd feel better if someone else was with you right?"
Pearl let out a small sigh "Sure, I guess I can come with you." She said with a smile. "If only to make sure you are safe that is." She added quietly.
Ekolu let out a sigh of relief before telling Pearl that they should probably tell Naruko before heading off. To which Pearl shook her head negatively, saying that Naruko had decided to take a nap.
So with that the two of them headed off. And roughly an hour later(they didn't go directly there due to Ekolu's nervousness as well as the fact that it was only quarter to ten before they left) they arrived at a medium sized two story house with a small stone fence in the residential suburb near Central.
'i really hope I know what I'm getting myself into.' Pearl thought to herself as Ekolu parked the car outside of her mother's house. She could already see an older Inkling woman with long red hair fidgeting nervously on the porch.
'Their almost as long as Callie's.' Pearl though as she looked at the older woman's long tentacles.
"Y-yeah, that's my mum…. Don't be surprised if she tries to hug you… I didn't exactly have any friends so…." Ekolu murmured as she slowly got out of the car with Pearl following suit.
And what happened next completely flipped Pearl's perception.
The moment Ekolu walked through the gate the older women darted towards her. And at first, Pearl was ready to sprint forward. But stopped when she saw what was happening.
"My baby!" The older woman cried out as she practically spear tackled Ekolu. Sending the two of them to the ground. "Gaah!"
"I-I was so w-worried you wouldn't show up!" The older women cried as she pulled Ekolu's face into her breasts.
"Mmph! mmph unf mmph!" Ekolu's voice was muffled but it vaguely sounded like she was saying something about the breeze?... Maybe bees?
'What the hell have I gotten myself involved with?' Pearl thought as a bead of sweat slid down her cheek as she watched the older women continue to babble on about how she missed Ekolu and how she was sorry...
Oh what indeed.
Fucking done! Oh my god that was hell to write.
I'm sorry for the lengthy delay on this chapter. But in all honesty, I hit a wall hard. I genuinely had no clue on how to proceed so I focused on my new fic.. I'm sorry if I disappointed you guys.
I don't know what my update schedule for this fic will be anymore, but rest assured it will not be cancelled. Even if it takes me a year to write one chapter, I will still update it.
So buckle up people, this fic has only just started. And I've got a boatload more curve balls to throw at ya... and trust me.. we have only just begun.
So I thank you all for your patience, and I hope you all have a Merry Christmas.