"Fuck…" Peter cursed under his breath, turning back around and walking away, eyes narrowed.
Izuku winced. Three of his own classmates being on the same team should be an incredible stroke of luck. But while Shoji seemed easy to get along with…
Kacchan and Peter together…
This wasn't gonna go well. At all.
Peter abruptly turned away, marching/stomping into the trailer and Izuku followed him.
From an intercom they could hear the voice of the exam proctor-
"We meant it when we said you have to get reading. It's one in the afternoon now. You have seventy-two hours to find where the villains are going to attack. Best of luck students."
"Move it Deku or I'll-THIS MUCH PAPER?!" Kacchan yelled in surprise as everyone else began to file in afterward.
"Ohhhh, wowie that's a lot…" Camie uttered as she walked in, others gazing at the vast collection of boxes, all filled with various documents throughout the carpeted trailer.
Peter saw desks, shredders, a water cooler, and couches.
The boxes themselves had titles too, all numbered and arranged in large stacks... "Suspects", "Potential Targets", "Criminal records", "Recent activities", "Official Documentation/Records", and "Miscellaneous".
"Whoa-kay then." Shindo whistled as he walked deeper into the trailer, Elle by his side. "There's quite a lot of this stuff we're gonna need to comb through," He mused, running a hand through his hair.
"Well, s-shouldn't we sort things out first?" Izuku asked. "I mean, we do need to find out who the villains are, where they're attacking and when."
"It's obvious, moron-" The bomber growled back as he walked around the place, inspecting some of the boxes. "We have three days, so the villains will attack then. Has to be a clue."
"Really?" Monoma drawled on as he walked in, Ibara behind him. "Or maybe that's something to throw us off?" The blonde glared back at him.
"In any case, I don't think we will need most of our heavy equipment. Take off the cumbersome parts of your costume and get comfortable. We'll be here a while." Shoji spoke up as some of his eye-arms gazed around.
Peter blinked as well, shrugging as Shindo removed his jaw guard and Elle removed her armored vest. He even spotted Bakugo setting his grenade gauntlets onto a desk close by.
"If I may speak," Ibara said, stepping up and gazing up at Shoji. "I think it's fair that we nominate a leader for this team: since most prominent hero agencies tend to have, well, a leader."
"Should we bring it to a vote of hands?" Shindo asked.
"Ohhh like, that's a good idea! But we totally should have it at like, a majority.'' Camie said as she twirled her hair around. "Since like, if we all vote for ourselves, but like, one other person votes for another, that may totes make things complicated."
"Good idea." Elle agreed, nodding towards her.
"Well… there's nine of us here. So whoever gets five wins," Peter suggested.
"No, I'll be the leader here." Kacchan growled out. Peter turned, glaring his way as the bomber walked forth, arms crossed.
"No one nominated you." Peter spoke, and Kacchan rounded on him, glaring right back.
Kacchan crossed his arms."Who, then; you Parker? You're no leader."
"You're not one either." Peter hissed, stepping forward.
"I ain't following Deku, or you." Kacchan growled. The green-haired boy started to walk towards the blonde bomber. As he did, Kacchan turned, and Izuku winced under his glare.
"I-I-well Kacchan, I mean,-"
"Fuck off Deku, this doesn't concern you." Bakugo hissed, not even looking his way as he glared at Peter.
"Don't waste your breath on him, Midoriya. He's not worth it." Peter scoffed. He turned around, and sat on the couch.
Kacchan's eyes widened, looking stunned at the comment. No, more like insulted. "What did you say?" He hissed.
Peter didn't even turn. He looked at his web launcher and tapped some buttons to show his smartwatch as he inspected it, not even paying Kacchan a second glance.
"I'm fucking talking to you Parker!" Kacchan roared, marching forward. Izuku paled, walking after him, hoping to defuse whatever might follow.
Peter's eyes glanced up, seeing cameras within the trailer. No doubt the proctors were spying on them. One of them out of the corner of his eye zoomed in on Bakugo's approach.
Then Izuku got between them.
"K-Kacchan calm down! We have to team up or else we'll fail!"
"My my, a house divided." Monoma drawled, sitting on the couch, clearly enjoying the show. "It's clear as day that Class 1-A is filled with problem children up the wazoo, who only care for taking all the glory. Even if they have to ruin each other in the process." Peter gazed back at him, as did Bakugo.
"If anyone should be in charge, it will be me! After all, who else but the best of U.A. to do all the box sorting and reading?" He grinned at them, his nose practically pointed at the ceiling. "And I've led my class pretty well in plenty of assignments and class exercises if I do say so myself."
"Momona, please, we are all in this together here." Ibara said, looking torn as she walked forth.
"Go preach to the choir, extra!" Bakugo barked. "No one fucking cares!"
"Okay… this isn't good." Shindo rubbed his arm.
"We're gonna fail…" Elle sighed, seeing little point in getting involved.
"I vote for Midoriya. He has the smarts and the know-how." Peter spoke up from his sitting on the couch.
"Well I-, well…"
"You're just sayin' that to piss me the fuck off. He can't lead for shit and you know it!" Bakugo barked, again. Peter turned, glaring back at him as Bakugo bared his teeth in a snarl.
"Okay, who do you want to vote for? Because let's see our lovely options: the Ace of Class 1-A; who rips his own classmates' arms off, someone who stammers like a shivering child and looks like a deer in headlights most of the time, and U.A.'s resident silver medal-" Monoma leaned back, hands in his pockets. "Can't stand to lead even a pack of puppies."
Peter whipped around, glaring at the tuxedo-wearing blonde; jaw tightening at being reminded of his less than stellar actions. Bakugo did the same, judging by a mirror on the wall, reflecting a similar reaction. Monoma blinked, and suddenly that bravado shrunk under their combined stares.
"Silver medal… you say?" He growled dangerously, turning towards him, hands open.
"Okay dude, can we all get along here!" Shindo exclaimed, hands raised in defense.
"Whelp-" Camie sighed. "Least I can like, hit the malls with my besties ASAP…"
'Good riddance,' Peter mused mentally, reclining on the couch as Bakugo advanced towards a pale-looking Monoma, despite Izuku's protests. A feeling of illness washed over the green-haired teen's face. Peter saw the camera following Bakugo.
"I'm gonna kill your ass dea-!"
"ENOUGH!" There came the crashing of a table, and everyone in the room bolted upright and turned. Even Bakugo and the surprised Monoma, the latter yelping in surprise.
Shoji's arms had punched a dent into the table, his eyes wide with anger. His normal ones, and ones now forming on his arms.
"All of you, get your heads in the damn game!" He barked, his arms extending and speaking as one. Peter saw a very cross looking tentacle-eye glaring down at him, and at Izuku. "Midoriya, Parker, get to the Suspects and Recent Activity boxes and start reading."
Peter blinked, turning to a just as flabbergasted Izuku. "Ummm, sure." He shot up off the couch.
Shoji's arms then turned to Shindo and Camie. "You two, contribute by sorting through the Criminal Records and Potential Targets; corroborate with Midoriya and Parker."
"Y-You got it..." Shindo just gave a shaky thumbs-up, while Camie gazed up with her mouth open.
"Like, he's speaking like a demon I saw in this one anime, that's like, totes cray cool." She said, a smile forming on her face. "Like, with all the voices talking on top of each other!" She then turned, noticing a stairway leading down. "Oh, what's down there…" She mused, walking the other way.
Shoji's body rounded on Ibara, who looked up at Shoji's main body with wide, almost terrified eyes. "Get to Official Documents, sort by building codes, taxes, or whatever pattern you find."
He turned again, glaring at Monoma who was dumbfounded. "You can copy quirks right? Copy mine, and help me in overseeing how everyone is doing, help Ibara as well. Keep your stupid rivalry out of this." Shoji glared down at him. "We're not in Class A or B anymore, we're heroes in this exam. Start acting like it, or leave." One of the tentacles stabbed harshly at the door..
Monoma was silent, sucking his lips as he tapped the larger teen. His sleeves bulged as multiple arms sprouted out and ripped his tuxedo to shreds.
Shoji turned, glaring at Bakugo.
"You, stop acting like an ass for once in your life and focus." He growled at Class A's resident problem child.
"I'm not following you, Arms." The blonde glared right back, but Shoji wasn't backing down as his eyes bored into his shorter classmate. Raging red meeting boiling black.
"I vote for Shoji." Elle raised her hand high. Shoji turned, seeing her. Bakugo glared her way, as usual.
"I vote for Shoji-san too." Ibara exclaimed, Monoma turning in surprise. Bakugo rounded on her too.
"Well, why not?" Shindo shrugged, raising his own. Peter looked at Izuku…
He saw Izuku nod his way, raising his hand.
Peter raised his hand in support.
Shoji turned, taking a deep breath, facing Elle and ignoring the bare-toothed snarl from Bakugo.
"Are you good at reading Japanese?"
"Still getting used to it." Elle replied. "Can speak ok. Reading and interpreting Kanji and Katakana is… a challenge." She looked to the side, ashamed.
"Okay, you seem to have a combat quirk, correct?"
"Stick with me and help the others. Get them supplies, water, whichever and whatever they need. Offer help whenever you can."
"S-Sure." The brunette nodded, trotting over to the supplies desk.
"Well,-" Shindo's smile returned. "Was a little worried there, but it seems like we got our ducks in a row!" He turned, looking at a sulking Bakugo. "Well, almost all of them." The blonde glared back at him, scowling as the black-haired boy looked towards Peter and Izuku. "He's like this all the time isn't he?" He asked rhetorically.
"Yes.." Peter and Izuku replied as one, one annoyed and factual, the other sullen and disappointed.
"Bakugo," Shoji's voice seemed to have calmed down, but Peter could sense the steel behind his tone. "Handle the Miscellaneous section. Sort by whatever patterns you see."
Bakugo remained silent, glaring up at him as Shoji glared right back at him. Seconds passing between them. "If you don't want to be a hero, the door's right there." Shoji stated.
"Tch." Bakugo scoffed. "Whatever. Don't get the wrong idea, I'm only doing this to pass." He turned, hands carrying his grenade gauntlets as he walked over to the Miscellaneous section, setting them down before grabbing one box and going over to one of the desks.
Shoji walked to a couch and sat down, his arms grew and extended, eyes going about. "I'll keep a tab on things and-"
"Whoa there's a whole kitchen down here you guys! Oh! And UltraEats and UltraDelivery codes for free food!" Camie shouted, voice echoing from down below. "Totes rad!"
"-and I'm Yaoyorozu Momo, from U.A." Momo introduced herself, seeing everyone else taking seats or leaning against the walls of the massive trailer they resided in. The group had just finished all of their introductions. From her count, there were thirty-eight in total, including herself. Thankfully, she was matched with some of her fellow Class A comrades.
"Hehe-" Kaminari rubbed his nose. "With Yaomomo here we're gonna ace this no sweat!"
"Darn right!" Hagakure's gloves were gripped, the girl pumped up as Momo smiled their way.
"In that case," spoke the blonde girl from Ketsubetsu Academy, Nakagame Tatami. A hero prospect, she was dressed in blue with pink gloves and boots. "Should we decide on who'll take which?" She asked, eyeing the loads of boxes throughout the trailer. Momo looked behind her, noticing one pile larger than the other. Was it like this for all the other examinees?
"We'll take this one then." Shishikura Seiji, the violet-haired boy from Shiketsu, stepped towards what appeared to be the smallest amount of boxes, a pile of ten. Momo noticed the labels on all of them, being 'Suspects'.
"Oh? What makes you decide that?" Said Nakata Nezumi, a rather small looking boy with mouse-like features as he stepped forward towards Shishikura… only for a large shape to get in the way.
"Because Shishikura is the smartest kid in our school, the genius of Shiketsu High." A large gorilla-like boy loomed, arms crossed as he leered down at the smaller rodent-boy. He was also from Shiketsu, Ikari Mako. "And I'm willing to bet that some country bumpkin ain't worth their salt to go through the most important place of all."
"Hey hey, you can't just decide for yourself here." Nakagame said, hands raised, not the least bit intimidated. "We should delegate on who-"
"And we are." Shishikura cut her off. "Ikari and I will handle these and dispense any information worthwhile to you lot." He turned around. "Figure out the rest, we can touch base later."
"Hey! Who died and made you king, huh?!" Fujimi Romero, a boy with teal hair, narrow eyes, and a black button-up coat barked. Momo recalled he was from Isamu High, a smaller scale hero school near Osaka.
"I asserted myself." Shishikura took his seat, selecting a box. He began to open it, continuing to drawl. "I come from a prestigious academy that does not care for putting on over the top spectacle with no substance." He glared towards Momo. "Nor do I come from some backwater town or some random school." He spoke with a straight face, and Romero only seemed to boil at that.
"Calm down Romero, no need to listen to this guy." A girl with a snake-like head explained, placing a hand on his shoulder.
"He has the 'Suspects' list here Habuko!" Romero snarled, growling at the violet-haired youth. "And in case you guys have forgotten, we didn't get any kind of pamphlet or prompt. Everything we know on what to do is from those boxes!" He pointed at the boxes that Ikari was stacking on a table, shuffling them about as Shishikura began to read through the documents.
"If you think I'm not going to give you anything, you're mistaken. I'll give you what you need, likewise I expect you all to return the favor." Shishikura glared back.
Momo looked around. Throughout the introductions, she'd stayed with her own class. The rest of the students here were from other academies, and most of them were here by themselves. All too easy for tempers to flare.
"Now partner up, me and Ikari will handle this. I suppose Isamu High and the rest of you can peruse the 'Criminal Records' folder."
"You're not even gonna give us a chance? What the heck!" Hagakure complained. Shishikura didn't flinch as he began to look through the papers.
"Did you do work studies?" Shishikura responded.
"That's not answering my-"
"Answer me, or are you as deaf as you are shameless?" Shishikura glared back with his good eye, Ikari letting out a chuckle. Hagakure's gloves flinched.
"Hey! Quit throwing out insults, jerk!" Kaminari shouted, standing beside her.
"I bet none of you went to any notable heroes to learn much of anything, did you?" He turned towards Yaoyorozu. "Save for her, but she was with one of the old guard in Yoroi Musha." He spoke with all the deference of one gazing at a feeble cripple.
"Yoroi Musha is an accomplished and outstanding hero, and is in the Top Ten." Momo spoke out, stepping forward. Ikari noticed, as he stood beside the violet-haired youth.
"I said he was old, well past his prime. Clearly grandfathered in on old triumphs. I worked at the prestigious agency of Crust." Shishikura elaborated. "An innovative hero with his pulse on modern society, and a man who is willing to assert himself for the greater good." He took a folder out and began to read it's contents. "Those who stand up to lead, must lead. Showoffs you may be, I expect you U.A students to accomplish what your school's reputation should imply. Plus Ultra. Now get to work, lest our proctors decide to fail us for pointing fingers instead of figuring out who our villains are going to be."
Kaminari practically began to spark-up, snarling through gritted teeth. Behind him, other members from other schools were already looking through the boxes. Spreading out the information to investigate further. Momo sighed, placing a hand on his shoulder.
"E-Easy Kaminari, just ignore him…"
"Hey, ummm,…" Said Nakagame. "I think we should band together and-"
"I don't believe Ketsubutsu is in any position to talk about who is in charge." Shishikura added, glaring her way. Momo had observed her mother haggle with numerous stock traders. She remembered how her mother would press on for a deal, a compromising bargain, or try to cut losses if a prospective partner was unwilling to yield.
Shishikura was falling into that latter category like a comet.
"This… is not good…" Hagakure whispered as Momo looked at the pair of gloves.
"Yeah… He's a real dick." Kaminari added as Momo could see another group of students bickering. Romero was pointing fingers with a student who looked hairless head to toe.
"He looks like one too…" Hagakure mused, as the hairless boy suddenly sprouted hair atop his head, as the two became more vocal. Momo looked around, noticing they had about thirteen people in their group. Their trailers were connected, so in a sense this was supposed to be two teams working together...
"For now though…" Momo said, turning to her fellow U.A. classmates. "We need to find a way to solve the crime… without gazing at who our suspects might be at first." She looked about, trying to find some people to work with. Habuko seemed to be trying to calm Romero down.
"Shiketsu gets all the easy work… It's not fair!" Hagakure whined.
"Yeah, well, if Aizawa were here he'd tell us to suck it up." Kaminari muttered, before he turned and saw Momo gazing about. "Watcha thinkin' about, Yaomomo?"
"Potential teammates." She crossed out Shishikura and Ikari. They made it clear they had no intention of working with others, or are at least trying to strong-arm their way to the top. She saw a few other students working together, but they were telling off single straggler students, like that one girl from Ketsubutsu. One student with… metallic teeth and wide eyes, looked repulsed and walked off, half in disgust, half in frustration.
"I'll see what I can do. Kaminari, think you can get started on sorting things out on our end?" Momo asked. The blond perked up.
"Eh?! You see all this?!" He said, gesturing to the mountain of boxes. "There's no way we can cover this much in two days! We won't be able to-"
"We can." Momo surmised. "I'd have to imagine us having a miscellaneous case of this size and magnitude… maybe a clue or a hint of who our villain will be, alongside their objective." The girl looked at Hagakure. "Mind giving him a hand?"
"Sure thing Yaomomo!" Hagakure's gloves gave a mock salute as they went over and began to lift up a box, opening it. Kaminari took a deep breath, nodded, and joined her, placing a box on a table.
The black-haired beauty then walked through the trailer, going up to the snake-girl and the masked boy. Romero turned, his narrow eyes glaring at her through his matte-blue hair. Habuko's serpentine eyes settled on her, an unsettling sight to be sure.
"Hey, you're that girl from the Sports Festival, right? With the skateboard and hookshot." Habuko spoke up.
"Yes." Momo offered her hand. "I was hoping that we could work together and sort through our case load. Shiketsu seems to have confiscated the suspects box for themselves for now and…"
"What, you want us to take your orders or somethin'? Think you can boss us around?" Romero asked sharply. His demeanor reminded her of Bakugo a little…
"Romero, calm down." Habuko elbowed him, and the boy winced at her. "Forgive my classmate. We're all a little on edge now, aren't we..." She gestured to the boy, who sulked before looking back, saying nothing.
Momo nodded. "I understand, and I'm not here to give orders, I'm just wishing to work together. As equals."
"Your group is the one with the gloves and electric guy right?" Habuko asked, as Momo felt herself being more turned off by Shishikura's conduct by the minute. Were he and Ikari the exception at Shiketsu? Those Nagamasa, Yoarashi, and Utsushimi characters were not like this at all…
"You seem to know a lot about us." Momo observed. "Let me guess, Sports Festival?"
"Not entirely. My best friend is in your Class A." Habuko seemed to give a smile despite her serpentine maw. It looked creepy, but the tone of her voice and the way her slitted eyes softened showed the genuine sincerity of a normal schoolgirl trying to be a hero. "A friend of Tsu is a friend of mine."
"You're friends with Asui?" Momo's eyes widened, before she smiled, offering her hand as the red headed serpent girl shook it. "The pleasure is mine."
Alright, found some people who are compatible... now to-
"Gah, I need some air!" Yelled a student, who stormed past some others and out the door, slamming it.
"Not so loud!"
This was going to be a long few days...
"They're breaking up quicker than I thought," Shouta muttered, seeing the students in the stadium below leave their trailers for fresh air. He can only imagine this was happening in other stadiums. "They should be getting to work, not needing a break within minutes."
Beside him, Ms. Joke shrugged. "Can you really blame them? They're kids from completely different schools and getting along is hardly something they're trained to do on a personal level."
Shouta was close to giving her a sideways glance at the mention of working together, but stopped at the personal level. That was correct, in a sense at least. Working with rival organizations, even towards the same goal, could lead to a whole host of problems if maturity was an issue. Especially with people that the students were unfamiliar with.
Which is why it was part of the test.
People didn't care if heroes did or didn't like one another. Outside of meaningless publicity events, that didn't matter.
When they could make their own agencies and hire their own, they'd get the privilege of hiring based on chemistry and relationships. For now? Deal with the cards one was dealt with.
"Could have a lot of people 'blown away' by your students' explosive personalities, right?" Joke asked with a playful smirk. Shouta closed his eyes, breathing through his nose
For the longest time, no one really said anything.
A bunch of students that simply stared at one another after the announcement was made.
It was a large group; the largest from what he could tell. Nearly eighty students from various years and schools...
Then, slowly, they started grouping together. Not by team, but by school. One school gathered with another, forming mini groups within that room, drawing lines without a single word being said.
There was one familiar face in Kendo Itsuka. She'd been looking everyone over, no doubt trying her best to find a moment to introduce herself. Or at least establish some semblance of order into the small set of craziness that everyone had found themselves in. Shoto didn't really see the point, they all knew the rules and the expectations, after all.
"So then… how do you want to do this?" Kendo asked him, unsure of what to do.
Shoto shrugged. "I'd say divide into groups and convene when we can, but that would involve setting up groups."
Shoto glanced up, both he and Kendo were looking at a girl wearing a Seiai Academy uniform, if Shoto was placing the design correctly. She had a small benee with her school logo, and a golden monocle over one of her blue eyes, silver hair cascading down around her head. Two other girls stood behind her, all of them wearing similar outfits, their hair color being the biggest distinction between them. A pinkette and a brunette. She approached, a small smile upon her silver-framed face as she stopped before the dual-haired boy and the red-haired girl.
"Saiko Intelli of Seiai Academy, pleasure to meet you, son of Endeavor." She bowed lightly.
"... nice to meet you too." Shoto said as neutrally as he could given the less than stellar greeting.
Next to him, Kendo raised an eyebrow, but none of the Seiai students paid much mind beyond a cursory glance.
"This is Kendo Itsuka." Shoto introduced, trying to get the ball rolling.
"Nice to meet you." Kendo said, bowing slightly.
Intelli gave the red-haired girl an almost dismissive nod. Little more than an acknowledgement of her existence..
"Things here will soon escalate." She said, matter of factly. "Frankly if all my girls were here I wouldn't bother, but seeing as how we are lacking, I'll make do with you and my two classmates."
Shoto's eyebrow hiked to his hairline.
Not to be crude but-
The balls on this girl.
He crossed his arms. "I'm not your lackey."
"Oh no, of course not." The words and tone were as patronizing as the smile on her face. She reached into her purse, pulling out a thermos which she uncorked and began to sip from. "But frankly you and I together hold the best chance of passing this exam."
"Why is that?" Shoto asked, tone as evenly balanced as his quirk.
The girl closed her eyes soon after as she began to talk.
"Simple; as I said, things here will soon escalate, in about another thirty to sixty seconds a fight will break out. My intelligence can decipher the evidence presented here easily enough to allow us to pass but I lack your… brute force. My intelligence does neither of us any good if I can't actually get my hands on enough of it to read. Just as your brute force will do you no good in snatching up evidence you won't be able to fully decypher in time, not alone anyway." She sat back in her chair, smirking as she reopened her eyes. "Quite the pair we make, don't we? I am certainly not complaining with someone of your pedigree."
"How do you know this? Your Quirk?" Shoto inquired, once again ignoring the jab at his lineage. The girl seemed to preen like a peacock.
"Indeed. My quirk is titled IQ. My intelligence skyrockets as long as I drink tea, the information feeding into me when I close my eyes. The boost depends on the type of tea brand as well." She nodded her head, the pinkette bringing forth a briefcase. Which, upon opening it, seemed to be jam-packed with various tea bags, a teapot / kettle, and miniature stove. "As I said, you can be my muscle." She smirked at him slyly. "And I your brains, Todoroki Shoto."
Shoto quirked an eyebrow. 'Well, she sure is something.'
Kendo gave a very pointed cough, looking at Intelli awkwardly.
Intelli raised an amused eyebrow "Oh, but perhaps I'm mistaken and… one of you is versed in investigation and speed reading?"
"No," Shoto admitted. It was true. His father had focused on physical training more than anything. Even though investigations were something that Endeavor excelled at, that was a lesson they hadn't reached yet.
Even so he knew the basics.
Kendo spoke up "We should at least…."
Her voice faded away, catching sight of the rest of their little 'group'. Shoto followed her gaze.
Students from several academies had begun haphazardly looking through the documents.
Careless, worse than careless; ignorant and reckless.
Which started… complications.
"Hey, don't throw them down, we need to look at them!"
"Oh piss off!"
"You're making a mess dude! We gotta organize them!"
"All we need is the villains, right? Then we go for them!"
Shoto nearly sighed, even before the first real insult was thrown. It appeared Intelli wasn't just boasting after all. The girl seemed to sense his mood, smirking all the while at being proven right.
Beside him, Kendo held out a hand, as if to reach out and stop them, only to pause when the volume grew.
"Hmmm… this isn't good."
Behind them, a man stood with more hair than Shoto had seen on anyone else. He was tall, with a single eye coming out of his fur. It was that Shiketsu student from before, outside the stadium. Mori if he remembered correctly.
"It would honestly be best to try and save the documents before they're lost."
"As best we can." Shoto agreed, finally getting up and observing the diplomatic process self-destruct in front of him.
Intelli looked exceedingly pleased with herself. "I see you're from Shiketsu. I suppose we can use your assistance, as you seem to have an observant eye to you."
"Mori Nagamasa, at your service." The furboy replied.
"Saiko Intelli, at yours." She gestured to Shoto, and the hairy hero-in-training looked his way.
"Take what you can-" Shoto said, "Don't bother asking or trying to break them up; we don't have time to waste here. Besides-" He saw students begin to shove each other, not even paying attention to their paperwork. "I don't think they'll notice."
"We're just… stealing documents from them?" Mori asked with a raised eyebrow.
"Borrowing. From their table." Shoto added.
"But, what about the others?" Kendo asked, looking unsure about the idea.
Shoto raised a single eyebrow. Intelli let out a simple huff, brushing aside some of her hair.
"What about them?" The Seiai girl asked, "This is a test, and if they're wasting time arguing, That's their problem." She held out a hand, and snapped her fingers. "Now, do inspect the dining area, girls."
"Yes, Saiko-sama." The girls beamed, and trotted off towards the stairwell leading down within the tent-connected van.
"We've already fallen behind," Shoto said, holding out his icy-cold hand. "So we better get started." He turned towards his own boxes, and began to open them.
It was several hours into the Preliminary Exam, and Shouta was enjoying a cup of coffee outside the stadium. He got his phone out and made a call.
A moment passed as the call went through, connecting with an audible click..
"Aizawa?" It was All Might, in his shrunken form going from the tone of his voice. "What is it? I thought you would still be at the Provisional Exams."
"Are you free over the next few days?" He asked, looking out the window. It was a beautiful blue day outside. Some scant clouds, but overall pleasant.
"I can be. But isn't Vlad with you?" He could hear sipping on the other end of the line. Yagi must be sipping some drink or other.
"He's doing his own thing." Shouta muttered under his breath. "Parker and Bakugo are grouped up together for the Provisional Exam."
What came next was sputtering and coughing from the Symbol of Peace. "You're shitting me!" He shouted in English.
"I'm not." What came next was a heavy sigh.
"You want me to come over?"
"If you want." Shouta mused. "I doubt your intervention on HPSC grounds will be seen in a favorable light though."
"Aizawa…I mean, it shouldn't be too long, right? The exam should be over soon."
"It's going to last three days."
"Calm down." Shouta said sternly.
"H-How can I be calm?!"
"If something was going to happen it would've happened at the camp," Shouta intoned. "When they slept in the same building, ate in the same room and trained on the same grounds, away from their parents or technology. And away from you, the real you."
Aizawa heard the Symbol of Peace's jaw clack shut.
"Then why tell me all of this?" The other man spoke up, after a moment.
"Since this Provisional Exam is different from years past, taking place over several days rather than several hours, I had a feeling you were going to call and inquire. I figured I would tell you."
"You're… placing a lot of faith in those two, Aizawa…"
Shouta sipped his coffee. "If they're going to become top Pros, they're going to have to learn that sometimes they'll be grouped with people they don't like. It's an aspect of life. You can't be there to get between them forever."
All Might was silent, taking a deep breath.
"And… if Young Parker and Young Bakugo have an… altercation?"
"Midoriya and Shoji are grouped with them, I imagine they would act as cooler heads. Although if anything does happen, depending on the circumstances, one or both will be expelled. You know the circumstances with Parker," He glared lightly at his phone. "-And don't think I've forgotten you let Bakugo off the hook at the beginning of the year either. He's on thin ice as well."
He could feel All Might wince. "That sounds rather harsh..."
Shouta sipped his coffee. "I'll let you know if anything pops up. For now, consider no news to be good news."
"Okay so… we got…" Peter mused aloud, sipping some water as he organized his notes with Izuku on their table. They'd combed through the 'Suspects' and 'Recent Activities' and had grouped them all accordingly. "Pros. Our villains are going to be legit top pros."
"Under new villain monikers at the very least." Shoji said as he sat at his spot in the center, eye, ear, and mouth arms extended all over. Peter looked down at the notes they'd organized and, so far, they had four potential villain groups.
"So, what do we got? The IDs for our villains?" Shindo mused, leaning in a chair with Elle coming by to deliver him some juice. Izuku went over to the billboard in the center of the trailer and began to tack on notes and pins, with strings. A whiteboard was set up off to the side as well.
"Here are our suspects." Izuku began to list them out. "First, we have The Hateful Eight. A group of Creature Rejection Clan elites who commit villainous acts towards those with mutation-type quirks." Photos of skull-masked people in robes burning someone at a stake… although thankfully, that someone was just a dummy scarecrow. "They have kidnapped and murdered some people with fish-like Quirks up in Sapporo, along with burning other mutants in Sendai... and have been spotted around Tokyo." Peter rolled his eyes. Even after, supposedly, hundreds of years, humans were still doing the same old shit. Then again, Bakugo proved people could be assholes for all kinds of reasons.
'Flash I miss you,' Peter mused to himself, sighing a little.
"Seems kinda vanilla if you ask me." Shindo shrugged.
"Simple as they may seem… their acts cannot be forgiven for how heinous they are…" Ibara added as she sat in her own chair. "To think… that Death Arms would be in such a foul organization!`` She pointed at the sticky note, with 'Death Arms' tagged near a robbed individual wearing bulky gauntlets with muscular arms, head underscored by a massive square jaw.
"Eh, don't worry Shiozaki." Monoma patted her shoulder sympathetically. "It's all just an act, you know, for the exam. Think of it like… he's performing for a play!"
"Ummm, next up is the House of Black and White. An eco-terrorist group dedicated to the destruction of modern society and returning to nature." Izuku went back, pointing at the next photo, this time of individuals wrapped in skin-tight bodysuits with swirling black and white color schemes. They stood in a square formation, a rather imposing figure in the center of it all in a massive trenchcoat. "They've been more active in the south around Nagasaki, and their attacks have always been at the front in order to make an impression. So, the villain group likes to be at the center of attention. They have been gaining influence throughout the country and- ummm, Parker and I couldn't figure out who the villain was here…"
"Yeah, of the villains we investigated so far, this one was a blank and-"
"It's Gang Orca." Bakugo spoke out, sitting farthest away, as he combed through his own files before slamming one down."One of the codes I picked up mentioned the sewers underneath the stadium. Assuming they're going to attack, I can't think of a better way than to get at our feet. That, and the extras in the photo." He got up, and walked forth past Izuku and tapped on it. "Are Orca's henchmen."
"So like, how do you know all this?" Camie inquired.
"I worked with him." Bakugo shrugged, before walking back to his seat. "Also, Orca is based out of Nagasaki."
"You sure about that?" Peter asked, and Izuku winced as he saw the glare Bakugo sent his way. The American narrowed his eyes back at him through his mask.
"You think I'm stupid or something?"
"F-For now let's assume that they are Orca's henchmen. I mean, i-it does make sense given the villain team name they have, right?"
"House of Black and White? Well… Gang Orca is a Killer Whale, so the coloring theme fits. Plus it connects to the ecological theme too..." Ibara mused, nodding to herself.
"Whoa, that's like, totes smart ya know that. U.A. must be full of big brains!" Camie beamed, leaning in and smiling at him. The vine-haired girl blushed, fiddling with his fingers.
Peter rolled his eyes and shrugged, ignoring the huff from Bakugo as the blonde took a seat, still scowling. "Okay, so that fits Gang Orca's description. What about the others?" He asked as Shoji, who was rather quiet, looked down at the dossiers.
"Flame Emperor Mafia, or better known as Entei Yakuza. A yakuza splinter group of sorts… They function in racketeering, protection scams, and real estate…" Shoji said, pointing at the photo of several men in suits, one larger than the rest of them but covered in shadow, save for the flame on his beard.
"Dead ringer, that's Endeavor for that one." Shindo raised his hand. "The guy has that 'yakuza' air to him ya know? Plus the beard totally gave it away."
"Who's next?" Elle asked, no one bothering to argue with Shindo.
"Parasol. A secret society dedicated to controlling the government, with connections in various medical and military companies. Villain group seems to specialize in assassinations though, as the prompt has stated they're responsible for several targets." Shoji listed off. "Can't really tell anyone apart on who or who might not be a Pro Hero from the few photos we have of them…"
Peter smirked. "Someone's totally watched those cheesy zombie movies once upon a time." He mused to himself.
"And that covers the suspects we have." Shoji said. "Now, let's start tagging which of these villains will target what…"
"Oh my goooood we can't get anything riiiiiight…" Hagakure whined, a thump on the table followed by a muffled moan indicative of her groaning, along with her face right into it.
"This fucking bites…" Romero growled, arms crossed as he glared at the organized papers in front of him as if they'd insulted his mother.
"I think I learned more on building codes and estate laws than my uncle… and he's a realtor." Habeko groaned, her snout against her fist as she looked drained.
And Momo agreed. They had been covering the mountain of miscellaneous cases for the last eight hours, and had made little headway. They were able to eat, go on a walk, and get a nap break on the couch. But with Shishikura and Ikari hoarding the Suspect information to themselves and not sharing, they had little to go off of.
"Wheeeeey…" Kaminari sighed, face in his arms. His mind had short-circuited without even using his quirk.
Momo looked across the trailer, seeing Shishikura going through the files and whispering amongst his schoolmates. Ikari was prowling about, hands behind his wide back as the gorilla-man would look down with a keen eye at the progress of other groups.
'It's dissolved into factions now…' Momo thought. They needed to find a way to get the information. She looked up at the clock. It was past eight, and they had one more hour until their research period was over. Then it was time to head to the hotels for lights out, as soon as they were told where.
She saw Ikari walk through the area, the gorilla man holding a pad of paper, making notes with a pen.
He was gleaning what he could, no doubt to feed back to his own classmate.
What would Mother do in a situation like this?
"Hagakure." Momo elbowed the invisible mass beside her.
"Hmmm? Oh! I know that look in your eye Yaomom-mmph?!" The girl's mouth was clamped as Momo put a hand over it. She can tell from the source of the sound as she gave a 'hush' sound.
"Not so loud. Everyone." Everyone in the group looked their way as Momo gave a small smirk. "I have an idea."
Yokumiru opened his eyes, moving abruptly as he saw an aide looking down at him. The tired looking man rubbed his eyes.
"It's time sir." He looked over, seeing his workstation. He got up, scratching his head as he smacked his lips.
"How long was that nap…" He turned, seeing the clock, it read quarter past nine.
"The applicants have been waiting in the stadiums for the last fifteen minutes sir. We had to check on you." The black-haired aide said. Yokumiru looked his way before sighing.
"Right, right… gonna need to look over some footage from the surveillance teams and go over their reports." The man walked over to his laptop, seeing the camera window open and the many students standing outside their trailers. He moved his mouse over, turned on his mic and pressed record.
"Is this thing on…?" He said, hearing his echoes from the stadium around him. "Alright, good." The beige haired man sat up and yawned. "Congratulations on fulfilling Day One of the Preliminary Exam. I hope you all did your research in an efficient manner. Now it is time to fill you in on your housing." He began to type, bringing up the presentation that the graphics team of the HPSC conjured up.
"The local luxury hotels have offered their services to us, and as I stated earlier, your tag will be acting as your de facto room key." He tapped on a command prompt. "Your rooms will be assigned to your tag, alongside which hotel and the address. There will also be complementary clothing for sleeping in these hotels as well, for pajamas or for going down to the dining areas which yes, are free of charge provided you show your tag."
"Lights out will be at ten for tonight, but this is tentative as we are treating you like adults in this situation, and most heroes tend to burn the midnight oil on a case like this. So whether or not you wish to follow up on this is up to you." Yokumiru continued. "For tomorrow and the following days however, you'll be able to work until midnight at the stadium. With the caveat of an earlier start time too, at six in the morning. That is when the gates open up. Of course these will be when the gates to the stadiums open, not when you start. But I suggest getting in around seven in the morning at the earliest."
The graphics of the time and the day allotted presented itself to the students. "So I recommend you show the results of your research by that time, as it will be the cutoff point for many of you I imagine. Get the right results on the final day at the deadline of one in the afternoon, and you will proceed to the real Provisional Exam location going from the research you find. Get it wrong, and your entire team will fail. Now-" He began to open up a water bottle, leaving everyone waiting..
"Time for rules in the hotel. Just follow normal rules as you would a hotel, but do be in your rooms at one in the morning. Sleep is very vital after all, even if it is only for five or so hours. You will also be in solo bedrooms as well."
"You can use the dining area of the hotel for breakfast and late dinner. You can also corroborate with your teammates in this free period too a little more as well, with the change of scenery maybe providing a spark of sorts. And don't try to glean off of other agencies, their information is completely useless so consider it a waste of time." Yokumiru paused, taking a drink.
"That will be all for now, and I'll see you all tomorrow." Yokumiru cut off the broadcast and stood up, stretching as he could hear his arms creak. "Whelp… time to go over that footage…"
Shoto rubbed his scarred eye, forcing himself to stay awake.
The little group that they'd formed had chosen a spot away from the given madness that had barely stopped. From what he could hear, the groups, such as they were, had now been firmly divided into camps and small cliques. Grapevine said that there were seventeen different schools in this group. That's seventeen rivalries, seventeen grievances, seventeen different methodologies and ideals contesting against each other. All certain that their rivals were going to try something to sabotage their efforts.
Only the largest of hero firms had a comparable size of eighty; firms like his father's and Gang Orca's. But those firms had firm leaders and requirements for joining, not to mention mature and experienced staff.
Here? It was a free-for-all.
Saiko used her girls to fetter out more information. Mori used his own brand of negotiation, along with the prestige of Shiketsu itself to pull together what disparate evidence he could. Documents, photos, bits of information traded to piece together the big picture, as it were.
It was… a mess, at best. But apparently Intelli had enough to make a decent guess at the correct one.
She'd burned through her 'finest brews' for that result; on top of her classmates going about acting like cute secretaries providing drinks or food, gleaning what information they could. But now, their group had a leg up on the others as to where the attack would take place.
Now to make sure Intelli didn't slip them the wrong information. He would not be letting her out of his sight until he was sure she wasn't playing him for a fool.
For now, sleep would do him well, as it would the others. They'd had a productive day, even with the setbacks.
"I think we should be reaching out to everyone else once we come back."
Shoto blinked, giving a sideways glance at his fellow U.A student. Kendo was looking down at her file, face sour.
"Why?" he asked, not thrilled at the idea of navigating through other, equally volatile teams.
"Well, we clearly don't have all the information," Kendo replied.
"I assure you," Intelli said as her group rose in unison from where they were sitting, preparing to leave the conjoined trailers. "We have all the relevant information that the others have been keeping from us. Isn't that right, girls?"
They all nodded, beaming with pride as they seemed to relish in playing the dainty feminine spy.
Kendo narrowed her eyes, but held her tongue as the group trudged their way towards the hotel. It was large, built for housing luxury patrons attending the Olympics, or even those participating in the now niche Quirkless event.
Once inside, it had some robots tending to the floors, cleaning, and some clerks behind the counter. Shoto spied some signs leading towards a dining center, but he held off on that, going straight towards the elevators.
"We're going for refreshments. The simple UltraEats menu for local cuisine would do so much damage to our figures." Saiko mused. "That and I must see their beverage menu to order more tea."
"I'm gonna get something to eat too." Mori waved. "Heading up to bed?"
"Yeah. Have a good night." Shoto replied, and the furry boy nodded as Shoto turned and marched off towards the elevator.
Curiously enough, Kendo followed him step by step. A quick glance is all she got before the two of them stepped into the elevator. He waited by the control panel, while Kendo leaned her shoulder against the elevator wall. The door closed, giving them privacy.
"I still say we should be getting the others involved."
Shoto didn't say anything for a long moment, yet he turned to look at her.
"Do you have an argument that can convince them?"
"To work with us? Maybe," Kendo frowned a little. "Some of them turned me away too, probably due to me being from U.A…"
"Maybe's won't help." Shoto said, staring at the mirror wall across from him, "Besides, any goodwill within this round might not even carry over to the second. They're not worth the effort." He heard a scoff, and saw a look of disbelief from the orange-haired girl.
"Are you hearing yourself right?" Kendo asked, baffled he'd even say such a thing.
"Loud and clear," Shoto answered, even as the door slowly began to open, "Right now, we have the best chance to pass, and I am not going to be ashamed to look a gift horse in the mouth."
He didn't wait for her answer, heading straight out of the elevator as he looked down at his tag, the number for his room displaying on it when he pressed the side button. The small suite was exceedingly commercial, but it was good enough. He needed some sleep, to be rested and ready for what was going to happen tomorrow.
Peter lay in his bed, looking through his phone as he read through some emails. "Been talking with a patent attorney huh?" He asked aloud. "Can I get a cliffnotes summary?" He asked, dressed in the new duds the HPSC provided. A simple white T-shirt and basketball shorts, along with slippers. Enough for traversing the inside of the hotel and that was it.
"So far, going well." Karen said from his phone. "I'm putting the final touches on what I learned from reading through Patent Law Regulations here in Japan and abroad. With any luck, you should have full control over your now-patented web fluid."
Peter grinned, skimming over the correspondence and combing through it as something caught his eye.
"Karen Stark for a name?" He asked, smiling lightly.
"Well, I couldn't choose Parker as we're not related. And Tony was, in a sense, my father." Karen replied, her tone softer as Peter took a deep nostalgic sigh.
"True, I guess." Turning over in bed as he looked out, seeing the luxurious night skyline of Tokyo in the distance.
He winced, feeling his stomach grumble as he looked at the clock, it read 11:18. "I'm hungry…"
Getting up and putting his feet in his slippers, he pocketed his phone and grabbed his tag before walking to the door. Peter poked his head out, seeing some stray kids conversing with each other in the hallways. Their lights out was at one in the morning, so they had time to socialize essentially.
Not seeing anyone he recognized, Peter walked down the hall to the elevator, stepped in and headed to the ground floor.
He got there before long, getting in line at the counter as he made his order. Honey-Teriyaki Chicken Katsu with fried rice and string beans. He collected his tray, said his thanks and walked over to a table and split his chopsticks apart.
"Time to eat." He said, praising the meal in Japanese as was custom here before he got to eating.
"You're doing it wrong." Peter perked up, looking and turning to see a tentacle-eyeball staring above him. He turned around, seeing Shoji approach with a tray of his own.
"Oh, hey Shoji."
"Parker." Shoji replied from one of his arms. "Mind if I join you?"
"Not at all." Peter smiled, gesturing to him to sit across as Shoji walked behind the booth and took a seat. His shirt was a tight fit, and Peter could see the strong legs Shoji had with his basketball shorts. "Get the… right size?"
"Not really." Shoji shrugged. "But I made a request for a bigger size to one of the HPSC clerks here on the grounds. I'll probably get a larger fit soon enough." He said as he set down his bowl. A bowl of ramen with steak, some seaweed, tofu, two halves of an egg, and some… green looking noodles.
"Veggie noodles?" Peter murmured in English.
"Sort of. Protein substitute. They had it so I took it." Shoji said as he took his set of chopsticks and presented them before Peter.
"Thank you for this meal." Shoji muttered lightly, bringing two of his arms together in prayer, as the others formed into mouths. He began to eat with them as they finished forming.
Peter could see the bulges go down his arms too…
"That's creepy but… kinda cool." Peter mused aloud, though thankfully Shoji seemed to take it in stride.
"You haven't noticed my eating?"
"Not really. We haven't had a chance to eat together like this." Peter shrugged as he ate. "Well, maybe once or twice back at the camp, but we were all tired and ragged then."
Shoji nodded. "Mind if I ask you a question?"
"Sure." Peter replied, sipping from some water.
"What happened between you and Bakugo back at the Sports Festival?"
Peter stopped, pausing as he looked back to Shoji, his normal set of eyes looking directly at him.
He set the cup down, leaning back in his booth. "Why do you ask?"
"I'm team lead, so forgive me for being blunt, but I've got to know whether or not you or Bakugo will end up sinking us or not." Peter winced.
"More him than me." He muttered.
"I'm aware, but you throwing fuel on the proverbial fire isn't helping. It's bad enough we have Monoma and a foreigner who isn't as literate in Japanese as you are. The last thing we need is infighting."
Peter pursed his lips, looking away.
"You and Bakugo have never been close." Shoji said. "For what it's worth, I don't like Bakugo either. He's an ass."
"He's worse." Peter growled.
"Why?" Shoji inquired, unable to understand the logic. "Bakugo was all set on beating you and being the number one freshman at U.A. You beat him on national TV and solidified your spot, even brought him down a peg for good measure. So why can't you let it go and move on?"
"Why?" Peter asked, glaring lightly at Shoji. "You're asking me to forgive and look past someone like him? A fraud of a hero?"
Shoji cocked an eyebrow. "So you're agreeing with Monoma that he's just a silver medal? A 'if you're not first you're last' sort of thing?"
"What? No it's… it's…" Peter paused, and leaned forward, his hand running through his hair in frustration.
He took a deep breath, looking at the ceiling as he began to list off the reasons mentally.
Bakugo Katsuki was a jerk. An asshole. He almost killed Izuku during that training exercise and All Might just seemed to ignore it. And that was without including his shitty philosophy and beyond-abrasive personality.
He didn't deserve to be a hero. Not from what he'd done to Izuku back then or to Pony during the Sports Festival.
And then what he said… in that locker room.
And again in the arena, when he was beaten.
Peter was glaring as he looked at the table, Shoji quiet and unmoving.
The silence stretched out between them for a time. Peter glared at first but winced, looking away.
He… couldn't find the words.
Shoji took a deep breath. "Look, I'm not Aizawa, and I'm hardly gonna pretend to be by prying into your business. It's yours; you wanna talk or keep quiet, your choice; I just need to make sure both of you can keep it together for the length of the exam."
Peter raised an eyebrow. "So is he gonna be getting this talk?"
"When I catch him conveniently alone, yeah.'' Shoji nodded frankly. "Frankly, having a shouting match in front of the team isn't appealing."
Peter gave a snorting laugh. At least Shoji was under no illusions on how that conversation was going to go. Though it also made Peter realize Shoji was effectively holding him and Bakugo in the same category.
To be considered as bad as… fucking Bakugo. It made his insides turn.
"Fine." Peter grunted as he looked at Shoji. "You have my word. I won't aggravate him."
Shoji seemed to sigh in relief. "Alright. Thank you." His arms seemed to finish sipping up the ramen bowl, the bowl now empty as he began to dab his arms with napkins. "You're our class's Ace, but that doesn't mean you're perfect Parker. I get that." He said, nodding as he slurped up his ramen once more. "No one's perfect. I bet not even All-Might is either, behind closed doors."
Peter offered a nod, standing up. "True; think I'm done sharing for now though. Goodnight Shoji."
The taller boy watched him, his gaze long but after a moment, nodded, not commenting on the only half-eaten meal. "Alright. Have a good night Parker."
Peter got up, tossing the remaining food into a bin and started walking back towards his room.
"Why can't you let it go and move on?"
It was a fair question. More than fair.
Peter wasn't one for grudges. Never had been.
But this one… this one was easy to hold on to.
Because this one had hit so close to home.
Real Heroes don't lose.- came the memory.
To lose is to fail.
He reached the elevator doors and heard it ping by the time he finished the thought.
Real heroes cannot fail…
'Especially when half the universe was on the line.'
In the dark streets of the Olympic faux-village, a pair of gloves walked about before a crosswalk.
Not a lot of people.
As the crosswalk turned green, she trotted across the street as others began to walk back from the stadium. Seems some people were still willing to burn the midnight oil. The stadium was still open!
'As expected of Yaomomo's prediction!' Tooru thought to herself as she hummed a tune from those spy movies she watched as a kid.
She made it across, moving toward some hedges as she carried her phone. She pulled it out, texting.
"Agent 2ru en route to Intel," She said to herself, sending it before her phone began to vibrate in a ring. She quickly answered it.
"You don't have to go Zero Dark Thirty just yet Hagakure," Yaoyorozu's voice emerged on the other end of the line. "And 2ru?"
"Ya knoooow, Agent 2 from the Super Spy cartoon series! Always trying to catch up to Agent 1 and his exploits, and while she had none of his talent, she never gave up in being a super spy!"
"Wasn't Super Spy a children's anime?" Yaoyorozu asked.
"Sh-shut up!" Tooru looked about, seeing more kids walking to and fro as she sat on a bare bench. Most people would be unnerved sitting naked, but for Tooru, she was used to it. "Gonna need a long shower after this… or a bath! My room has such a great bath…"
"For now, just get to our trailer. If the stadium is still open, then hopefully Shishikura and Ikari are not there. They didn't leave when we left."
"Yeah… then Agent 2ru's difficulty just spiked up immensely! Gonna have to sneak around them and-"
"You should get a move on.'' Yaoyorozu mused. "I'm getting texts from an antsy Romero, and Kaminari is pacing in my room. And… you're narrating to yourself."
"As expected of-, wait, Kaminari-kun is with you?" Tooru blinked, ignoring that last comment. "Hey! Kaminari-kun! You better not do anything lewd with Yaomomo!" She cried out, shaking her gloved fist in indignation.
"Ehh?! I'm not doing anything!" Kaminari yelled in indignation.
"It's fine Hagakure," Yaoyorozu said, her tone still soft. "You should go dark now and make your way to the trailer. Text if you cannot call."
"Right. Agent 2ru out!" Hagakure hung up, and the pair of gloves carrying a phone hummed as she got up, and trotted into the stadium. Taking care to slow down and hide behind pillars and move accordingly to keep her gloves and phone out of sight from people leaving the stadium.
As she made it past the gates towards her allotted stadium, she saw some men in suits standing before the tunnel, no doubt HPSC security guards. She had her phone and gloves hidden behind a fence from their perspective.
"How do I get past them…" She murmured, looking back. She could see some people leaving the stadium. Her eyes drifted to a garbage can close by the guards… "Hmmm…"
An idea popped up in her head. She removed her gloves and set her phone down, keeping them hidden from sight behind the bushes. She tiptoed towards the suits, one a normal looking person, the other having a nose with an electrical socket. She got up beside them and waited, holding her breath and looking into the tunnel with her hand on the garbage can…
Some hero students were coming her way. Good.
'Sorry you guys, but I need to make sure my team doesn't fail because of two jerkwads!' She thought to herself, waiting…
They were near the can, one of them with arms long enough to reach his ankles.
She pushed the can as Long-arms moved past the guard and the can, shuffling away as the can's contents spilt and caught the guard in the leg, and some of Long-arms' teammates too.
"Whoa! What the hell man!?" Asked a boy with a visor around his head.
"Huh?" Long-arms asked dumbly.
"What's the big idea kid?" The Normal guard asked, arms crossed as his fancy pants had some garbage on them now. Such as fast food bags, cups, bowls, plates and take-out boxes. "I just got this suit yesterday!"
"I-I didn't do anything!" Long-arms said sadly.
"Take responsibility for your actions." Socket Nose said, hand on his phone as he stood in front of the kids. "Or else we'll phone in the proctors. I'm sure a point deduction for detrimental conduct will be more than fair for this."
"Way to go Yuya…"
"I didn't do anything!"
"Now pick this mess up!"
The hero prospects got on their knees and began to pick up the litter, all while the invisible heroine-in-training scooted past the preoccupied guards by traveling around the other side, behind the other trash can.
The hero prospects got on their knees and began to pick up the litter, all while a floating pair of gloves scooted past the preoccupied guards. Traveling around the other side, behind the other trash can.
Tooru walked as quickly and silently as she could, finally out of the tunnel and into the stadium seats as she let out a breath of relief. She saw scant few people on the stadium grounds. "Phew…" She trotted down, putting on her gloves and carrying her phone once more as she went into a tunnel and into a lady's restroom. She stepped inside for a minute and got her phone out.
"In the east bathroom. Agent 2ru on the move!" Tooru murmured lightly as she texted Yaoyorozu and put her phone on silent. The girl exited the bathroom, walked down the steps and onto the field, going to her assigned bunch of trailers.
Using her special phone case, she slid a compartment down to reveal her tag as she brought it to the trailer door. The door opened, and Tooru walked on in. It was dark and empty, no signs of life as she turned on a light to navigate through the semi-office towards the area where Shishikura and Ikari were working. Everyone had put away the files in a neat organized fashion into folders or clips.
But the Shiketsu duo didn't. Their paperwork was gone.
"They couldn't have taken it?!" Tooru whispered to herself as she began to move about, grateful for her feet now on carpet instead of asphalt and concrete, but panicking at the prospect of returning empty-handed. She began to look about their area, looking under tables and chairs as she went over to the file boxes and began to rummage through the Suspect section. The boxes were empty. Tooru began to feel a pit form in her gut as she looked about in their section again. Was she missing something?
"What do I do…" She whimpered, slumping to the floor, and sitting on her bottom. She sighed, kneading her forehead as she looked up…
"Huh, that's weird."
There were notebook paper blotters on each desk for students to write notes…
Shishikura's desk calendar blotter looked a bit too… thick of sorts. Like hiding a towel under the sheets of a well made bed.
"A-ha!" She perked up, beaming as she lifted the blotter up, finding nothing before she set it down, and began to kneel down, looking through the blotter's contents.
Low and behold, the all so important Suspect files.
"For Great Justice~!" She cheered silently as she got her photos and began to take pictures. After which, she began to send them immediately to Momo's phone, she then put them back in the blotter, putting the paper folds back under to make it look like it was not tampered with.
She soon locked up the trailer, turning off all the lights. "Super Spy 2ru, mission complete!" She murmured to herself, happy as can be as the pair of gloves and a phone walked towards the stadium exit.
The next morning, Momo was rather cheerful as she saw Habuko and Hagakure talk to the other groups, informing them on what they had learned.
"So, it seems our targets include the House of Black and White, the Hateful Eight, the Entei Yakuza, Ghosts of Kyoto, and the White Falcons." Romero mused, pointing at some of the highlighted areas on some notes he had written down. "Going by what we figured out yesterday… our most likely villain attacking the… Construction Vista is-"
Momo turned, as did Romero and Kaminari as they looked. A livid Shishikura loomed with his hands on their table, as did a growling Ikari.
"The fuck did you do." Ikari snarled, his fangs prominent.
"You stole from us." Shishikura hissed, glaring daggers at Momo. "And you dare call yourselves paragons of society, to uphold public order and decency? You're no heroes. You're thieves, criminals."
"No comment." Kaminari smirked. "Besides, we just figured this out on our own. With all the research here in the trailer as per the rules of the exam." He said with a twirl of his finger.
"Shishikura." Momo cut in, seeing Ikari about to walk over towards the blonde's direction. "At the end of the day, this is about all of us working as a team towards a common goal." She stood up, her face stoic as she took in a deep breath.
What would Mother do…
As much as she'd like to see her mother slap them silly… That wouldn't be her. Rather...
She clenched her jaw, and stared at the violet-haired youth straight in the eyes. "If you don't like working in a team agency, I'm sure there's plenty of smaller agencies out in the country or islands. Okinawa or Tsushima for instance. But for now, let us work together and pass this exam and take that necessary step to become heroes. Together." 'If you want to go solo, play tennis, jerk.' She added mentally, but better not add more fuel to the fire.
"You did this, didn't you?" He leered, slapping her olive branch aside as he bore into her. "You with your schemes and plots, just like all of you U.A. hacks. The moment someone challenges you for leadership. For prestige. For the top, you cut them out from under you." He glared at the gloves who were busy handing out some papers and notes to the other students. "And the brown-nosers in this society who kiss their boots." Shishikura scoffed. "Are even worse for perpetuating this."
Romero laughed. "Wow. I figured you for having a massive stick up your ass." He leaned back, hands behind his head. "But now? I think you just need your dick sucked." Kaminari let out a sniggering laugh, while Momo blinked his way.
"Why you-!" Shishikura was about to charge, hands having a glow to them, but Ikari held him back.
"Shishikura, the cameras…" Ikari whispered, and the snarling teen looked up, seeing the camera looming down on them. Momo followed it, seeing it focus in. Romero let out a scoffing laugh, giving it a two-fingered wave.
Shishikura removed himself from Ikari's grasp violently and pointed his finger at Momo. "This isn't over." He hissed.
"Come on man, let's just focus on how to pass." Ikari whispered, and glared towards the group before Shishikura stomped off, the large gorilla boy following after. Romero gave them the bird as they left.
"Was that really necessary? The dick joke?" Momo asked, quirking an eye at Romero. The light-blue haired boy gave a lazy smile and shrugged.
"He's been asking for it and you know it."
"Preach." Kaminari offered a fist, and the Isamu High student returned it.
"Alright!" Hagakure cheered as she returned to the table, gloved hands going up with joy. "We got all of our notes and fliers handed out, Yaomomo!"
Despite the setback, Momo smiled and turned. "Shall we do this together, everyone?" Romero smirked, Kaminari gave a thumbs-up and Habuko nodded.
"Alright guys!" Hagakure cheered as she got to her feet. "Let's go coordinate our notes together! We got two days to figure out who's our villain, when and where they're attacking, and why!" She even did a skip to the whiteboard, bringing it over. "So let's do our best!"
Momo chuckled, and got up. "Alright everyone, let's begin with our suspects." Shishikura looked away in disgust, and she could hear a few sniggers from the crowd. "We have-"
"Our target location." Shindo spoke up, walking to the whiteboard and drawing a line to one of the locations Bakugo had researched. "The Apollo Tower." He patted the photo of a gleaming skyscraper of sorts. "To be brief, there is an important conference being held there. Energy big-wigs from all over the world will be discussing the need to move from nuclear to solar power and what-not."
"Which makes it the ideal target for the House of Black and White." Shoji added, standing beside the black-haired youth. "Who all want to return the world to its natural state. Nuclear energy doesn't seem to suit their ideology. It matches with the building codes Shiozaki provided me as well."
"Like, thank god because my eyes…" Camie yawned, smacking her lips. "- totes wanna kill themselves…"
"Suck it up." Bakugo muttered, cheek on his fist. Peter paid attention to the presentation.
"What we can gather is that the conference will be held on the second floor. There's multiple conference rooms throughout the building, but the motive for the enemy is that they want to hit highly populated targets." Shindo mused. "Granted, it's odd for them to target a place where they're talking about potentially going green but hey, it's villains." He shrugged.
"Where would the high population areas be?" Izuku asked.
"From what we can gather," Ibara said as she used her vine to poke at some pictures they found. "The representatives and their families will be staying on higher floors. Meaning if the villains strike here, they'll need protection."
"Or evacuation." Elle added wearily.
"Indeed, we will need to take into account where the villains-" Momona paused, yawning. "-Are going to strike…" Peter couldn't blame him. They had just finished the general gist of the research of the day. Looking around, Camie looked washed. Izuku was rubbing his visibly bloodshot eyes, and Ibara and Monoma were looking more tired than the exam proctor. He was tired too. Only Elle, Shoji, and Bakugo seemed to be going strong. Then again, those three were going hard on the coffee.
"Any luck on the building codes?" Shoji asked Ibara, and the girl sighed.
"There were quite a lot of them… many of them for other buildings like a hydroelectric dam, or a derelict building or a school… I have to sort them out in the morning…"
"Which ones?" Bakugo asked, actually sounding calm for a change.
"Sewer and property maps, blueprints…" Ibara rubbed her eyes. "Heaven forgive me, I can't go on reading and squinting at tiny text anymore…"
"Do we have any clue if we will receive backup?" Peter asked Shoji.
Bakugo was the one to answer. "Don't count on help."
"..." Peter grit his teeth, feeling Shoji's eyes on him as he took a deep breath, looking away.
"If other agencies join in, more power to us to allocate resources to save the civilians present. For now, let's assume we're on our own here. Midoriya, Parker, you finished up on your documents, right?" Shoji inquired.
"Yeah, we have." Izuku nodded with a smile. "Sorted them all up. Boxes are empty!"
"Alright. We worked a long day today and the day before." Shoji said, eyeing the rest of the exhausted team. "Bakugo, how are you on your end?"
"Almost done. Could get it done tonight if we work towards midnight."
Happy for the non-confrontation from Bakugo, Shoji turned towards Monoma.
"You help Shiozaki with the blueprints. Parker, you and Midoriya do the same please." Shoji asked. "Elle-san," He turned towards the American girl. "Out of curiosity, do you have a surname?"
"Just Elle is fine." She muttered, looking to the side with narrowed eyes. Shindo smiled, rolling his eyes as he looked at Shoji with a wry grin.
"Okay, you, Utsushimi and Shindo help Bakugo wrap up on the 'Miscellaneous' section in the morning." Bakugo perked up.
"We're not pulling an all-nighter here?"
"We have until one tomorrow. And it's eight now." Shoji looked at the clock to the side. "Right now, I want all of us to be refreshed for tomorrow and at their best."
"I can go to midnight." Bakugo stubbornly said. Camie groaned out loud.
"If he's saying to call it for the night so we can rest, just take it." Peter muttered, earning a glare from the bomber.
"H-he is right Kacchan." Izuku spoke up, smiling awkwardly at him. Bakugo's eyes darted about, seeing eyes on him. Shoji in particular was staring at him intensely.
"Tch, whatever. Don't cry to me if we have to0 cram and jump to conclusions that'll cost us." Bakugo got up from his chair and walked to the door. "I'm going to get dinner." He waved his hand dismissively, departing the trailer.
"Jodio pendejo." Elle muttered under her breath before getting up and stretching. "Let's go Shindo." She reverted back to Japanese. "I wanna check out that burger place across the street from the hotel."
"You mean All-Works?" Shindo asked as he stood up and followed her before he turned back. "See you guys in the morning."
"We'll see you then Shindo-san. Elle-san." Shoji nodded.
"Didn't she order from that place using the UltraEats app?" Peter asked as he looked at Izuku.
"Food got cold." Shindo shrugged as he waved. "Anyways, see ya!" He beamed as he left. Peter looked at his fellow teammates, save Monoma as they began to clean up and shut down the trailer.
Shoto tried not to frown, but it's starting to get harder and harder.
Every other second, he could see Intelli scrutinizing the different pieces of intel that they had.
"Something wrong?" he asked from his seat.
The question was loud enough to get every head on their little team looking towards the white-haired girl. She didn't wilt, nor look annoyed at the attention she was getting, only gently putting her tea back down on the table before her.
"The data is complete," she said with a sigh, rubbing her temple lightly. Several cups of tea ordered by UltraEats lay empty in a wastebasket, alongside some plastic bags ordered by UltraDelivery from various grocery stores.
"So," Kendo said, leaning against the pile of files that she was already looking through, "We're good to go?"
Intelli's gaze sharpened.
"Don't you get it?" She asked. "The data is complete" She hissed, then rolled her eyes as she received a collection of blank stares.
"We've stolen and scrambled together a hodgepodge of information from various disparate groups and yet it paints a clear picture. I barely had to strain myself to piece it together.," she explained, "We have enough to let us know that this... 'Jutenrin' will be the one to attack the bank when the time comes."
Ten Heavenly Rings… Jutenrin, a definite Japanese-based crime syndicate that broke away from the Yakuza to ally itself with some Chinese Triad. Their villain was an unknown, someone named Saikyo.
"Then what's the problem?" Shoto asked, already dreading the answer.
Intelli looked like she wanted to throttle him.
She began tapping the rim of her teacup. "The picture is too clear," she explained. "There should be missing pieces, bits that we don't have. I should be making educated guesses, not… having it handed over to me. What's more is that there's evidence suggesting other attack vectors from other suspects. There are bits and pieces missing for them but not this one.
"So we got lucky?" Mori shrugged. "It can happen."
The tapping stopped as she ran a hand under her chin, her two fellow schoolmates who helped collect the information they desperately needed standing beside her.
"It was easily the obvious choice, almost deliberately put." Intelli looked to the side, and the dual-haired boy perked up.
"Are you saying there's a chance that it's a red herring?"
Intelli scrunched up her features. "If it is, then frankly we've failed. There isn't enough time now to gather more evidence and find the 'real' attack or rule out the possibility." She said, looking at the clock as it was going well into the night.
"Lovely..." Kendo sighed.
"I do doubt it though," Intelli clarified, trying to stay confident. "While I can't one-hundred percent rule out the possibility, I can say that this is the best option. For instance half of these other tips are similar to false leads that occur in most districts that statistically lead to false alarms. Even assuming that some of them are true. Furthermore the possible attack vectors are too numerous to defend against."
A slender finger reached out, tapping a map in front of them.
"This is the only attack that we can reasonably set up a defence for against all possible attack vectors."
Shoto nodded, not as if he could argue with her.
"Then we work with what we've got. Too late to change things now." he said, arms crossed as he looked down at the map. "Let's press on."
Intelli fell silent for a moment before slowly nodding. Though she spared a look at the pile of evidence with another wary eye.
Toshinori awoke to the smell of bacon cooking downstairs, the skeletal man rising from his bed and stretching. He looked to the clock- just past seven.
"Huh… slept in." He murmured, rubbing the back of his head. He groaned as he put on his baggy T-shirt and slippers. He looked down at his custom watch, seeing his time back to full.
Two and a half hours.
"At this rate, I won't be able to teach at U.A. as myself anymore… I'll have to think of a cover story…" He mused aloud. "I hope you get One for All where you said you wanted to by December Midoriya…" He opened the door and began to walk down the stairs. Toshinori sighed, walking out of his master bedroom and downstairs.
He smiled, taking the last step downward before rounding into the kitchen."Good morning my girl." He said with a light yawn. Melissa Shield looked up from her laptop, giving him a soft smile. A plate of cooked bacon sat close by her hand.
"Morning," she greeted back.
It had a little more pep than it did the last few times, which was a good sign. He pulled up a chair, helping himself to some of the toast that Melissa had apparently made. She didn't look up from her laptop, the screen flashing through lines of code from the reflection on her glasses.
"Still hard at work I see."
"Family quirk I guess," Melissa joked, smiling briefly, only for her eyes to go back to the code. "Trying to fit in the right materials for a blueprint I'm working on…"
He was a bit too old of a dog to learn something like coding or the ins-and-outs of Support manufacturing. Thankfully, there was a conversation that you're never too old to talk about.
"You never did tell me what it was supposed to do," Toshinori mused.
Melissa blinked, the realization rushing through her for a moment before a little flush of embarrassment came over her.
"Something for Izuku," she said, "-to help him while he's working on his control." The skeletal man perked up.
"That's good to hear!"
Such a development would certainly put Recovery Girl at ease. Last thing that she needed was another reason for her to unleash her arsenal on Toshinori.
Not that she would seriously hurt him, but she had needles.
Lots of needles. Lots of Big needles.
Shivering at that particular thought, he straightened just as Melissa pressed enter.
"I was hoping to fix it up and send it to him before the final started," she explained, fingers blurring over the keyboard...
"I don't think they allow outside help in the middle of the exam," Toshinori pointed out. "Especially for this one since it's over a several day period."
Melissa rolled her eyes in the way that only teenagers managed to do.
"I know, that's why I said hoping," she said, her voice losing that little edge to it.
An idea came to him.
"You want to see the Provisional Exam for yourself?"
Melissa instantly perked up, eyes wide behind her glasses.
"Sure," Toshinori said with a smile, "Don't think there's anything against it, and you don't have class today, so it's-"
He didn't get to finish the sentence, not as the blonde threw her arms around him in a quick hug. Toshinori let out a soft grunt. She was quick!
"Thank you, Uncle Might."
Toshinori just sat there for a moment, right before he returned the hug, his dark-blue eyes softening as he patted her head.
There, that was better.
"Okay." Shoji stood before the whiteboard, all of their research displayed there. Complete.
"We have our target. Our location, and the most likely avenue of when the villains will attack."
He turned, and Midoriya put on his gloves before tightening up his boots. Parker put on his mask, attuning his web shooters as well. Bakugo adjusted his grenade gauntlets.
"Are we ready?" He asked, and Monoma in his tuxedo crossed his arms with a smirk, the toga-wearing Shiozaki beside him.
Shindo and Elle were in their hero combat attire, and Utsushimi in her skintight catsuit.
"What does it look like to you?" Kacchan growled, turning towards the door. "Let's get on with it."
"Yeah!" Midoriya beamed.
"Alright." Shoji stepped away from the white board. "Let's go. The enemy is at Apollo Tower."
"Everyone! Let's do our best!" Momo called out, the entirety of the trailer looking at her and her small team.
Romero had his trenchcoat, breath-mask and special gloves on, standing beside Kaminari and Habuko. Hagakure stood by the black-haired beauty in her blue catsuit. Beside them was the board of their target location, and the villain they expected to fight.
"Man, I had my doubts that U.A. could keep it together, but boy was I wrong!" Said one student, Asagami if Momo recalled with his vacuum-hose hands.
"Same here. I thought they were all flash and no substance!"
Momo blushed lightly at all the praise.
Shishikura and Ikari were in the back, glaring daggers. The latter practically snarled and gnashed his fanged teeth. The former was wishing he had lasers for eyes no doubt.
"Gear up, we have fifteen minutes to get to our exam site!" Momo took a deep breath,
Hagakure and Kaminari by her side, and Romero, Habuko and Nakagame behind them as the trailer followed her. She saw other trailers emptying with their teams.
She looked up, seeing a giant blimp of sorts hovering over the stadium district. On it, the HPSC logo was emblazoned on both sides.
"Come on guys! This way!" Said a student as Shoto walked with his small group, right in the middle of the pack of the multi-trailer group. He looked up, seeing their destination…
He turned around, seeing Intelli lug her briefcase, her classmates behind her.
"I have a bad feeling about this…" Kendo mused aloud, looking about as their group followed other students to their stadium. The teams looked uneasy, untrusting of each other. Many of them threw looks at Intelli and her two classmates. Mori walked to Shoto's side.
"We'll have to adapt to what comes our way then." The hairy boy said.
Shoto agreed, narrowing his eyes. "We have what we need. Let's pass. No matter what."
"Well, seems like our students are in position…" Yokumiru toned, sitting in the blimp overlooking the Fujitome District. He had a bit more pep in his voice, looking down as he saw the hero prospects move to their areas, the big middle area cleared. He'd never been on a blimp before!
He looked upon his great console before him, tapping on a button to bring up several screens, various figures featured in them. "Is everyone in position? When you get the green light, engage in your roles." He gave a dark smile, seeing the various heroes who have volunteered for this task. "As villainously as possible."
He heard a chorus of agreements and Yokumiru sat back in his chair. He looked back, seeing Abe Hanako, the current President of the HPSC gazing at him as the older woman stepped forward.
"Is it wise not to inform the prospects of the Help Us Company?" Abe asked. "They are our civilians taking part in this."
"They'll be informed, rest assured." Yokumiru groaned out. "These are kids, and some of these prospects aren't first-timers." Yokumiru yawned a little. "They'll get a clue. Besides, the HUC members will inform them of their roles when they encounter our prospects… but not on their initial point deductions." Abe looked his way.
"These exams are not a natural disaster event, but villain attacks. There is more margin for error since the conditions here are to protect or evacuate, not administer first aid or remove rubble and debris." He turned, seeing the collection of students all appearing at the gates they had assigned. The beige-haired man turned on a screen, bringing up a hologram of the various students in each tunnel. Their tags showed up on the screen as dots on the map. Those who chose wisely in green, and those who did not in red.
"Now then. Time to cut the chaff. First with this lot…"
Peter looked up, he and his team standing close by in a concourse before their assigned stadium. He looked around, seeing a good… thirty or so people present.
"Any sign of any of our classmates?" He asked, whispering to Izuku.
"No… Oh, I can see some of Class B though." He said, pointing over to a group of kids. Peter's HUD in his mask zoomed in, and he spotted Kamakiri and Kodai standing in a group of sorts.
The big screen flickered to life as Peter looked around, seeing various HPSC officials in suits all around the concourse. That sleepy looking guy, Mera, appeared on screen.
"Now then, seeing as all applicants have arrived in your chosen areas. Let us see who chose correctly, and who did not." Mera said. "Look at your tags. Green if you pass. Red, if you fail." Peter looked at the tag he carried, and the white object glowed green.
He let out a sigh of relief, and he heard the shouts of indignation and confusion all around them.
"That's a lot of red…" Monoma murmured aloud, seeing students yelling at the screen. He was right… he saw a LOT of red.
"I'm sorry, but you had two and half days to investigate. If there is anyone to blame, it is only yourself for not researching the material hard enough." Mera replied, ignoring one student firing a jet of confetti at the screen. "For those who passed, remain where you are. Those who did not, please exit the confines of the Fujitome District. Your teachers are awaiting you."
The security officials walked on over, going to some angry students. Peter even saw one of them put her hands on another and had to be physically dragged away. But most of them walked out, shoulders slumped, dejected and depressed.
And more… and more…
"Okay, did most of them just choose this because of Gang Orca?" Shindo asked with a worried tone. "I mean, it was pretty telling of a name. Well, that and the Entei Yakuza being totally Endeavor."
"Might be…" Elle mused as she looked about, the concourse becoming more empty by the second.
Peter felt a pit grow in his stomach, and looking around, he could see most of his classmates had the same reaction. More of them were leaving, while Peter and his group were not.
Before long, the only ones remaining in the concourse of the stadium was Peter's group.
"Ummm…" Izuku raised his hands towards a glasses-wearing HPSC suit. "Is there a mistake? We can't be the only ones here right?" He asked. The suit shrugged, and gestured to the screen.
"Well, it seems like of the groups intended to come here, we only had one of the two. And a bunch of layabouts." Mera mused from the screen. "Well, congratulations Agency White-4. You have passed the preliminary portion of the Provisional Exam. Now, your mission?"
"One of two huh… guess we have no backup after all…" Shoji muttered to himself as he stepped up, looking up at the screen. Bakugo scoffed to the side, muttering "told you so" under his breath. "We are an agency going in to intercept the villain group, the House of Black and White at Apollo Tower. Our objectives as heroes are simple- To defeat the villains, and save the civilians present."
"Do you have a theory on what weapon the villains will be using at the Tower?" Mera asked on the spot.
Shoji narrowed his eyes and Peter felt himself stiffen. Looking around, he saw Shindo bite his lip, Elle looked to the side and Camie tilted her head.
Nope… they hadn't discussed what kind of weapon they'd used.
General theory to attack a place like this was a bomb so they'd gone with that assumption.
But they'd never confirmed it, just assumed.
"Bomb." Shoji answered firmly.
"Hmmm." The sleepy proctor shrugged. "Alright then. Best of luck Agency White-4."
Then the screen winked out.
After a brief moment of quiet panic that they'd failed- a voice called out
"This way to your starting gate." A female official said, her big fluffy squirrel tail behind her contrasting her cold professionalism and black sunglasses. Peter saw words come across the screen on the eyeholes of his mask.
'Normally I would help in combat and logistics, as this will be a combat simulation. But this is still an academic test so,' Karen said. 'I cannot help you here.'
"That's fine." Peter muttered under his breath.
'Alright. I'll be grabbing some popcorn . Your suit's functions are at maximum efficiency. Best of luck.' Peter nodded and took a deep breath as he and his team made their march into one of the tunnels, silent shade reigned upon the group.
It wasn't a long walk, stepping towards a closed steel gate.
"Okay. The plan is simple." Shoji said as he turned towards the group. "Due to us not having any communicators, we need to be within sight of each other ideally. But, we have our team setup."
"Yeah, we make a line between the civilians at the conference and their families, and the villains." Shindo spoke. "Me and Elle can handle things inside the tower. Question is, who's gonna be out-" He was cut off as he felt rumbling beneath his feet. Peter looked about, as did everyone else. It felt familiar.
"Must be changing the field again." Shoji's arms were made into ears. "Same kind of noises… Something big is coming up to replace the trailers."
"It has to be Apollo Tower." Izuku mused. "After all, the documents we investigated and found correctly focused entirely on the Tower itself. Not outside of it."
"Indoor combat then." Elle said, arms crossed.
"This will be tough… my Quirk is gonna cause some collateral damage here…" Shindo winced, looking down at his hands.
"Buildings can be rebuilt, lives cannot." Ibara said softly. "As much as it would dismay me to cause damage to the tower, but against villains, property should be secondary."
"More or less." The tall multi-armed boy nodded. "Now then, let's go over our team ups. We will split into three teams. Villain Attack Team, Support Team and Civilian Defense and Evacuation Team." Shoji said as he stood before the group. "Now, once we're inside the tower, we need to be in control of two locations. The first floor and the second floor terrace. The Attack Team will be in the First Floor to neutralize the villains, since according to the codes, they plan to attack from the side or underground. The House of Black and White like to make their attacks showy, so they always make some kind of an entrance."
"Team White-4." Said a voice interrupting the taller boy as they turned, seeing a camera and a microphone attached to it. "Your objective is as follows. You are a hero agency coming in to intercept the House of Black and White. There are two completion requirements for this portion of the Provisional Exam." It was female, professional and stoic. "The first is the neutralization and capture of the villains. The second is the complete evacuation of the civilians attending the Apollo Tower Energy Conference. Completion of either of these two will finish this exam, as there is no time limit."
"Got a question," Bakugo stepped forth, glaring at the camera as Peter looked his way. "Did you guys get actual civilians in this, or are they robots?"
"The civilians are a part of the Help Us Company, a company where its members practice playing victim for various hero examinations across the country. They will be playing the role of civilians, but they are quite experienced. They, along with the proctors monitoring your exam, will be keeping a close eye on how you act as heroes in this situation." Peter let out a sigh of relief.
"What are our passing requirements too? What determines if we pass or fail?" Izuku added.
"Before completion of the Preliminary Examination, all examinees are at one-hundred points. Your conduct and acts during the Provisional Examination will have an effect on those points, decreasing your point score given your actions and the ultimate results causant of them." The camera replied.
It bobbed in the air for a moment. "The pass-fail threshold is forty points. Number of Civilians captured or killed will add or detract from your score. Usually it is fifty, but due to the failure of the other agency arriving, your agency will be given a slight mulligan. And rest assured we are taking into account the other team's failure to arrive in the stadium to help you in this score as well. You are not responsible for the other agency's failure but the number of villains you're expected to face will not diminish. Take note."
"Bad guys don't care if half the team is out sick." Petter mumbled, though it seems the proctor heard him.
"Indeed. Once the examination is complete, the HUC volunteers and proctors will tally the deductions for your score. If at the end of the day your score is above forty you pass, thus earning your Provisional Hero License."
"Where is the evacuation site? If we are in a tower, we need to know if we are using the safe rooms present, or the outdoor area." Shindo inquired.
"It will be outside, and is marked for your convenience. You will have to find it though."
"Thank you." Shoji nodded. "Okay, we stick to the plan at first. Defense and Evacuation Team, Shiozaki and Shindo, you'll be on the second floor. Attack Team; Midoriya, Parker, Elle, Bakugo. First floor. Support team will be myself, Utsushimi and Monoma. We'll be on the second floor terrace between the two of you. We'll move between attack and defense/evac as needed."
"When I get to the second floor, I will focus on finding the Evacuation zone." Ibara stepped up.
"You can move fast?" Elle asked.
"Oh she can." Peter said with a nod.
"Indeed! Shiozaki is our class ace!" Monoma preened as he gestured towards her. "In an open area, she can roll the opposition like a bowling ball! Within closed quarters, she can use her vines to pull herself down hallways and rooms at great speeds! And best of all she's more even-keeled than any of Class-"
"Yeah we get it." Shindo cut him off. "We're in your hands to find that evacuation zone Shiozaki-san."
"Or we take out all the villains." Bakugo added. "That's another pass requirement."
"For now, let's focus on the plan. Shindo, provide defense. Shiozaki, find the Evacuation zone and return to us promptly to assist in defense. The civilians are the priority." Shoji commanded, and the green-haired girl nodded. "Everyone else know their roles?" Everyone else nodded or gave a thumbs-up.
"Got it." Peter said, as he looked to Izuku who nodded back. He turned towards Elle. "Hey Elle, what's your quirk do anyway? You didn't mention it back in our meetings." Shoji quirked an eyebrow, and Elle looked to the side as she felt eyes on her.
She let out a sigh of frustration. "Bone manipulation. I'm capable of combat, don't worry."
"Just don't get in my way," Bakugo growled. "And don't fuck up either, I ain't gonna save your ass if you get yourself in trouble."
Peter felt his teeth grinding.
"Bakugo." Shoji glared at him. "Enough."
Bakugo scoffed, looking away from the group. Elle looked at him, nodding lightly in gratitude.
"Typical Class A, fighting amongst them-"
"Monoma." Ibara spoke out, interrupting the tuxedo blonde's rant. "Quiet please." She turned, looking at him with steel in her eyes. The boy blinked in surprise at the normally passive girl being more aggressive before shrinking under her stare.
"Proceed now." The voice said, and the banter among the group died down.
They began marching into the designated building, which was only a stone's throw away, about ten yards from the starting gate. For a 'tower' it was a squat thing, more like the foundation of a tower rather than a full-on tower itself. Made sense, not like they could just stuff a skyscraper into the arena.
Making their way inside, Peter noticed the interior, the first floor being wide and open with some chairs, statues of All Might, and tables all making for a nice and scenic lobby for a convention center. Up ahead, he could see the stairs and escalators leading towards the second floor terrace. He saw a clerk behind the front desk, and a few of those fake civilians mosing about on the first floor, checking their phones.
This scenery… felt familiar.
Way too familiar.
"Yo, Midoriya." Peter spoke out. "This is…"
"Yeah," Izuku replied. "I recognize it too… this is like I-Tower's first floor…"
"Why'd ya say that?" Camie asked.
"I heard there were some kids involved in that incident…" Shindo paused, eyes widening as he gazed at Izuku and Peter. "No way, you two were-"
"Okay everyone, get into pos-" Shoji's hand whipped out, stopping the team in their tracks as they were about to pass him.
"What is it?" Monoma asked.
"Movement," Shoji said, one of the ears on his arms twitching, "A lot of it."
"I can feel it too." Peter added, feeling the rumblings under his feet, as if the entire tower was shaking.
"Already?" Camie started. "But, like, we haven't gotten into position yet! We just walked in!"
"Don't think they care-" Elle muttered, glaring. "Where are they?" She looked about. The windows and walls of the tower lobby were made with some kind of screensaver to imitate an outside view of sorts. Even if ten meters beyond the windows was the stadium wall and seats.
Peter strained, not hearing anything other than the low rumble of machinery that seemed ever present in these spaces.
Then, his senses flared.
Instantly, everyone tensed, just as a portion of the floor exploded close by. The shockwave alone was enough to push the entire group back, all of them landing hard on the ground.
Izuku, Bakugo and Peter all recovered well; Bakugo's hands popping with sparks as he landed, and lightning arcing off Izuku's form, Peter landing on his feet and one hand.
Peter heard Shoji groan, but he was stumbling to his feet a moment later.
From the smoke and dust, a massive drill was now visible as a giant barrel-like tank seemed to be burrowing out as many of the civilians scrambled away in fear. The tank opened, and the first person to come out wore a thick black trenchcoat, almost looking like a cape. The towering villain walked forwards, with a confidence that none of the students felt as he stood upon debris.
"So then, these are the heroes in our way. Not as many as I expected."
With a sweep of his massive hand, Gang Orca revealed himself. Dozens of people poured out of the hole, all donned in a black-and-white uniform with splotches. All of them had some kind of scuba-board thing attached to their wrists, Peter identifying it as the trademark Gang Orca agency foam-pellet guns.
Gang Orca smirked darkly, his red eyes glaring down on the White-4 Agency.
"Now... let's begin."
THANK GOD THIS IS OUT THIS TOOK FOREVER OI VAY
Big thank you to IKN, LD, and the new beta team of Vandenbz , WildJoker000 , and Buried In Ash . They're tremendous helps in polishing this one. And yeah, at around 17.5k words this one of the longest chapters in the story as we had loads to cover.
So yeah, this chapter was a bitch and a half to write, mainly to get the Preliminary Exam over with. Not to mention a a combination of general mood, lack of free time(working 9-10 hours a day, 5 days a week can do that too ya), Fire Emblem 3 houses, Semper Fi, house hunting, and other family stuff going on in real life. Some heavy stuff too...
Oh and working with my good buddy Juubi-K on our collabs together as well.
Oh and Gacha Hell Depression, since I failed to get Ibuki Douji in JP. Let's just say I could have commissioned two-three fan art pieces for this story instead of going after that minx in FGO... Desire Sensor is super stronk.
Not to mention I have been toying and brainstorming other ideas in my head, which include the below:
The FF7R/MCU crossover idea with Bucky in Midgar meeting Aerith.
An FGO cross with Overlord where Chaldea comes to the New World as it formed as a singularity, bringing them on a collision course with the great Tomb of Nazarick.
An FGO cross with Fire Emblem where the three Fairy Knights(plus a certain fairy King) wind up in Fodlan after the Sixth Lostbelt as a way to start over, with the focus being on Ashe and FK Gawain.
A Fire Emblem Peggy sue story of FByleth dying in Ashe's arms at the end of Verdant Wind, with Ashe going back in time to avert her death with a weakened Sothis in his head.
And a Panty and Stocking crossover with Hazbin Hotel/Helluva Boss where Brief, after the events of Oden City, loses faith in a revived Panty and is dragged into Hell by a vengeful Corset.
All bouncing around inside my head. Not to mention the final stuff for this fic, and Semper Fi.
But alas, here we are. The beginning fo the true Provisional Exam with no influence from Kamino, but influenced by a situation far worse. The Hosu Massacre orchestrated by Shigaraki and the I-Tower Terror Attack by Wolfram and the Dead Man's Hand. A surprise strike against a place of civilians and it's up to our heroes in training to stop them. We see Team PIB(Peter, Izuku, Bakugo) against Gang Orca. Who shall Team Momo and Team Shoto face? Next chapter shall answer all.
There was quite a bit of redrafting done here too. Me and LD talking back and forth as well.
Next chapter should be another meaty monster too, and the time should take just as long too. I'm going to be gone on Thanksgiving weekend and during December I'm going to be tremendously busy going about places too, one of them a vacation I have been long seeking. Not to mention Christmas and my birthday(the 19th) around then. I'm going to be 30 then. Sheesh I am old...
Oh and I glimpsed at Eternals. Fucking meh. And the No Way Home Trailer that dropped had me rolling my eyes at parts. Basically what I feared and said in my earlier rant on it being a giant nostalgic fanservicey coomfest. I did like Otto being a good guy around the end though, and if the one who dies in that movie I hope it's MJ. We need to get Gwen Stacy in here and she would be a much better alternative than that dry plank of wood. But I feel it's going be either MJ or Happy. Probably Happy. Hrrm. Dr. Strange saying 'scooby doo this crap' was utter cringe though.
Anywho, I hope you enjoyed. I need to finish my Semper Fi chapter now. That's gonna be as big as this one no doubt. I will be aiming to commission some fan art for this story, but it's the expensive kind done by amazing JP artists. So stay tuned on spacebattles.
And again, thank you all for sticking with this story, warts and all, to chapter 50. What a ride it has been, and we are almost there.