Another Day as a Splitgate Contender

"Augh. Dammit." A young woman with light brown hair and brown eyes cursed as her alarm woke her up from her slumber. Groaning, she sat up and shut off her phone's alarm before letting out a massive yawn. "What day is it?"

Turning to the calendar she kept on the wall, she let out another curse when she realized it was Monday, which meant she had to go to work in a bit. Getting out of bed, the woman grabbed the clothes she put on her chair last night before heading to the bathroom for a quick shower to wake up fully. After a couple of moments, she exited the bathroom, fully dressed, and made her way to a special closet that contained some of the gear she needed for work. However, before she could open her, her phone ringing caught her attention.

"Who's calling at this time?" Walking over to the night table, she picked up her phone and answered it. "Hello?"

'Aino!' The caller said.

"Oh, hey, Jakov." Aino said, happy to hear from her friend and coworker. "How've you been?"

'Fine. A little hectic over here, but otherwise fine.'

"That's good. Will you be joining us at the bar after work?"

'Of course. But speaking of work. Don't forget today; we have both history and freestyle matches. So don't forget your other gear.'

"Right. Thanks for reminding me. Anyway, I gotta go. See you at work." Aino said before hanging up.

Sighing, Aino went back to the closet, opened it, and pulled out the necessary gear for today's work. She then began the arduous task of putting on all the gear. And by the end of it, Aino looked like some kind of special forces unit the police would send in an attempt to control a riot. Aino then went over to her other closet and grabbed a heavy jacket. While she was accustomed to Finland's weather, the coat was so she could head her gear so people wouldn't ask questions as soon as they saw her. And Aino considered herself lucky if people only wanted to ask her questions as she could lie to them. But if they found out what work she does, they would start asking for autographs and demand to take pictures with her. The last time that happened, she was stuck in the same spot signing autographs for an entire hour.

"Alright. Hopefully, I didn't forget anything this time." Aino said as she put on her backpack and grabbed her duffle bag. She then grabbed her headphones and put them around her neck before pocketing her phone. "Let's head out."

Grabbing her keys, Aino exited her apartment before closing and locking the door. She then walked down the long hallway, down the stairs, and around a few corners before exiting the building. However, as soon as she closed the door and started walking to the crosswalk, her stomach reminded her of something.

"Right. I didn't have breakfast yet. Better grab something from the corner stores."

After contemplating for a bit, Aino decided to grab a rye sandwich with smoked salmon at one of the local delis. Thankfully, the workers at this particular place were quick with making orders. So in only five minutes, Aino was out and resuming her walk while enjoying her breakfast.

'I wonder what battle we're recreating? Hopefully, it's not Olympus. Not a big fan of heights.'

Throwing out her trash in a nearby rubbish bin, Aino pulled out her phone to check the time. Seeing that she still had some time, Aino decided to take in the sights of Rovaniemi as she made her way to the airport. After about fifteen minutes of walking, she finally arrived at the airport. Luckily, unlike all the other people there, Aino didn't have to go through security or wait in any lines.

'Just another perk of the job.' Aino thought as she boarded her private plane. Putting her duffle bag into the overhead compartment and backpack on the seat next to her, she then sat down and got comfy.

'Alright, miss. We should arrive at our destination in about three hours.' The pilot announced before cutting off comms.

"Okay. That should give me enough time to catch up on some reading."

Putting on her headphones and selecting some songs she had recently downloaded, Aino then reached into her bag to grab the book she had been meaning to finish. "Alright. Now, where was I?"

Three and a Half Hours Later

"Miss. We're here." The stewardess said, shaking Aino awake.

"Huh? Are we there?" Aino asked after bolting upright in her seat.

"Yes. We just arrived. Will you be needing any help with your bags?"

"No. I got it."

"Alright. Good luck in your match."

"Thanks."

Grabbing the duffle bag, Aino walked down the aisle to the front of the plane and then down the stairs to exit. And what greeted her was the ever-expense Mojave Desert. However, while most would panic at a sight like this, Aino remained calm. The reason for this was that there was a shed with a special portal wall that, once used on, would open a portal that would take her directly to her work. While some might find it ridiculous to travel to a desert simply to get to work, it was necessary as none of them wanted a repeat of the last incident.

Opening the shed's doors, Aino stepped inside and closed it behind her. She then set her bags down before opening the duffle bag and pulling out her portal gun. Aino then attached it to her arm before firing a laser at the portal wall, creating a portal.

"Alright. Once more into the fire." Aino said before stepping through the portal.

Splitgate Headquarters

"Attention Spectators! The first match will begin in FORTY-FIVE minutes! Hurry up and grab your refreshments and make your way to your seats. But as a friendly reminder. Please do not harass our contenders. They are humans like you. Keep all conversations and requests professional. Thank you."

"Aino. You're here." A young woman with gray eyes and blond hair ran up to Aino as she exited the portal.

"Hey, Maja. Nice to see you again." Aino said, smiling as she hugged Maja.

"Nice to see you again as well. How's the leg?"

"Better. The doctor cleared me to continue playing but said I should avoid any heavy lifting outside of our armor."

"That's good." Maja said, sighing in relief. "That was a nasty hit you took, followed by an even nastier fall."

"Yeah, it was. Thankfully, the armor took the brunt of the fall."

"And the medics finally pressuring the overseers into cushioning the portal walls."

"If only they could also cushion the bat. It hurts when you get hit by that." Aino said, remembering the times another contender knocked her out of a match by using the bat. "Anyway. Do you know which battle we're recreating?"

"Yeah. The Helix battle."

"Helix? Wasn't that the area where the prisoners broke free and tried to take over the complex?"

"Yes."

"Great." Aino sighed, rolling her eyes. "Are we going as the guards or the criminals?"

"The guards."

"At least we win this battle. What about the freestyle match?"

"We're playing Gun Game on Stadium."

"Okay. That's not too bad."

"Right. Luckily, we're not playing team shotty sniper."

"Especially when Maria and Abiral are on the opposite team. They are pros with those guns, and I don't feel like getting shot in the back or head a million times today."

"What about Flying Splitball on Abyss?"

"No. I don't feel like becoming batting practice for the twins, Iago and Iria. Those two are masters at portals and professional baseball players."

"That is when they aren't arguing with each other."

"True. Anyway. We better get going. The match is about to start." Aino said, checking the time on her phone.

"Yeah. The last thing we need is our bosses getting on our asses." Maja agreed.

Grabbing Aino's duffle bag, the two made their way to the locker room. Luckily, because they were at headquarters, they didn't have to deal with any spectators or people wanting autographs, pictures, or anything else. After about five minutes, Maja and Aino reached the lockers and began to change into their respective armor. But as soon as they finished, a new voice caught their attention as they closed their locker doors.

"Hey, Maja. Aino." The voice said.

"Oh, hey, Gisela. Antônia." Aino said as her coworkers and friends approached her and Maja. "Good to see you two."

"Good to see you as well, Aino." Antônia said before turning to Maja. "Hey, Maja."

"Hey, Antônia." Maja said, smiling.

"Will you two be joining us in this history match?" Aino asked, curious.

"Unfortunately, not. We're on cleanup duty since our armor is still in the repair shop. They took quite a beating in our last match, which was Speed Bats, and we were going up against the twins." Gisela answered.

"Well, that's too bad. Hopefully, the mechanics can repair it in time for our next match." Maja said.

"Hopefully." Antônia said. "Anyway. You two better get going. The match is about to start."

"Right." Maja and Aino said as they put on their portal guns.

"And good luck in the freestyle match."

"See you guys." Gisela said as she and Antônia left the locker room.

"Ready?" Maja asked as she and Aino walked over to the area with portal walls.

"Ready." Aino answered. She then activated her Portal Gun and fired a beam at the portal wall, creating a Royal Green Portal Ring.

"Then let's go." Nodding, Maja and Aino jumped through the portal.

Helix Arena

"Attention Spectators. The match will begin in TEN MINUTES! Please hurry to your seats. And if you see any contenders, please refrain from going near them as they are busy setting up final preparations for the match. Thank You."

"Maja. Aino. You're late." Jakov said, running up to them as they arrived with the portal closing behind them.

"Sorry, Jakov." Aino said.

"What teams are we on again, and where are we starting?" Maja asked.

"You two are acting as the guards and will be acting as Team Bravo. You two and the others will be where the plasma rifle pickup is. I'm on the prisoners' side, which is Team Alpha. We'll be where the rocket launcher pickup is. The winners this time will be the guards. Everyone will have three lives. Once you run out, you're out and will spawn back at headquarters. The rest of the information and what to do will be on your huds."

"Got it." Maja said.

"Alright. Let's get this show on the road!" Jakov shouted before running toward where the rocket launcher pickup was.

"Is it me, or has Jakov been a bit more uptight recently?" Maja asked as she and Aino headed toward where the plasma rifle pickup was.

"Yeah. But we can't really blame him. Things have been a bit hectic back home for him. So, he's been really stressed lately. Not to mention, he oversees a lot of stuff and does his best to ensure everything runs smoothly." Aino answered.

"Maybe we can take him out on a trip into town to help him relax. We can even invite a few others."

"Maybe. But anyway. Let's get ready as the match is about to begin."

"Right." Maja said as they arrived, where the others were waiting for them. They then put on their helmets before raising their hands as the Assault Rifle appeared in their hands and the Carbine on their backs.

"Alright, Spectators. It is a beautiful day for another Splitgate Match. This time the contenders will be facing off against each other in teams in modified Takedown. No rounds and the first team to three points wins."

'If only the spectators knew.' Aino thought, recalling how the organizers and people at the top decided not to inform the public about the entire history of Splitgate and portals.

"Game Starts in... Five... Four... Three... Two... One. Takedown. Begin."

Rolling their shoulders, Aino, Maja, and the three others waited for a few seconds before running toward the bridge over the Rocket Launcher spawn point. But once they arrived was when the match really started. Almost immediately, a portal appeared on either side of them, with the prisoners flying out of the portal a second later. They managed to take out three guards, but while this was happening, a message appeared on Maja and Aino's huds. And it told them to open a portal on the portal wall box next to them and create a new one on the oversee ledge. Maja quickly did so, with them entering a second later. They then started firing their carbines at the prisoners and managed to eliminate three of them. The remaining two tried to retaliate but were eliminated by the other guards that had returned.

"Point to Team Bravo."

"Alright. Come on. The hud is telling us to head to the plasma rifle." One of the other members said. Nodding, they exited the area and used their portal guns to create portals to make the trip faster. However, as soon as they made it there, the prisoners ambushed them. Their huds then told them to fight back and take one out while the prisoners finished them off.

"Point to Team Alpha."

'Damn. That still hurts.' Aino thought as she and the others respawned near Sector 1. "Where now?"

"On top of the wall of Sector 3 by the cube portal wall." Maja answered.

"And this time, they will be coming through the tunnel." Another member answered.

"Once we see them, we aim for the heads with the carbines." Another member finished.

"Alright. Let's get this over with." Aino said as they used the portals to make a shortcut there.

However, once they arrived, Maja and Aino's huds alerted them to a new message. Apparently, for this part of the battle's recreation, they had to round the corner and wait until the prisoners arrived. Using their jetpacks, Maja and Aino safely flew over the tunnel's entrance, landed, raced up the ramp, and readied themselves. Maja then created a portal on the portal wall behind them.

"Wait." Aino said as they strained their ears for the sounds of gunfire. And it came a moment later. "Now."

Maja quickly created another portal on the cube near their other teammates. And once the portal rings linked to each other, Maja and Aino saw that their teammates were distracting the enemy team, allowing them to get free kills. Taking out their assault rifles, they began firing at the prisoners. And because they were focused on the other guards, the enemy time couldn't react in time and died. However, before they could eliminate all of them, one of the prisoners got a lucky shot and managed to eliminate Aino before going down.

"Team Bravo now has two points. One more point to go."

'New helmet, still hurts.' Aino thought with a pained grunt as she respawned on the other side of the map.

But once Aino composed herself, and the pain subsided, a new message appeared on her hud. This time it told her to grab the rocket launcher as she was the one who would win the game for the guards. However, she had to be careful as she only had one 'life' remaining. And while this was only a recreation of a battle that happened here, she still could die if the enemy team shot her out of reflex. If she dies, then the recreation would be ruined, and her bosses would be up her ass for the next month.

Rolling her shoulders, Aino created a portal on the portal wall that was at the other end of where she was before making one next to her. Quickly entering it, Aino repeated the process of making portals on any portal wall that would get her faster to the rocket launcher. Once she arrived, she picked the weapon up and used her jetpack to get back to the upper level. She then raced down the halls toward sector four as the new message had ordered.

"Alright. I have to time this." Aino muttered as she watched her teammates and the enemy team fight over the hill.

But she did have to wait long for the opportune moment to arrive. Her teammates decided to push just as the guards did, forcing the prisoners to take a few steps back. Aino quickly used her jetpack to gain some height and created a portal on the portal wall on the opposite end of this lane before doing the same on the portal wall next to her teammates. Once the portals were linked, Aino saw that the enemy team was huddled together, unaware of what she was about to do. She then fired the rocket at the portal near her teammates, with the missile entering, exiting the other portal, and hitting the prisoners, eliminating them all at once.

"Game. Winners: Team Bravo!"

"Nice job, Aino." Maja said as she and the rest of her team walked over to her as the crowd of spectators cheered.

"Alright. There will be an hour's intermission before the next match begins. So use this time to make your way to the next arena and to refill your snacks and drinks."

"Thanks. Well, now that this match is over, all that's left is the freestyle match." Aino said as Maja created a portal that would take them back to headquarters to change and relax.

"And this time, I'll come out on top. Not you. I'm going to beat you." Maja declared with a lot of conviction.

"Wow. I've never seen someone so excited to get fifth place." Aino said, causing the others to chuckle.

"Let's go." Maja said with a huff as she entered the portal.

"You know, I never really pegged Maja as the competitive type." Another teammate said.

"Neither did I, Felipe. But we can't really blame her since she did grow up with two brothers that were always competing against each other. Plus, Maja's only competitive during matches. Outside of that, she's not." Aino said.

"Sometimes I wish I had siblings growing up." Another teammate said. "But then I remember how chaotic it would have been and how competitive we would have been."

"I'm pretty sure anyone who grew up as an only child felt like that at some point in their lives, Manolito." Aino said. "Anyway, will you three be in the freestyle match?"

"No. Manolito and I are on cleanup for the Pantheon arena. The recent sandstorm made it a mess, and the machines alone won't be enough." Felipe answered.

"What about you, Dahiana?" Aino asked the last teammate.

"I'll be competing with you and Maja today." Dahiana answered.

"Do you know who else will be competing?"

"It will be you, Maja, Dahiana, Mathéo, Edoardo, and the twins, Iago and Iria." Jakov answered as he landed next to everyone.

"I thought you were competing today, Jakov." Manolito said, surprised.

"I was initially scheduled to compete in today's match, but the bosses need my help going over the numbers and future plans for the Olympus and Oasis arenas. That's why Edoardo is replacing me today." Jakov explained.

"Well, good luck with that." Aino said.

"Thanks. I'll need it. And some bottles of aspirin." Jakov said before creating a portal and entering it, followed by Manolito and Felipe.

"Well, we better get going as well." Aino said. But before she could enter the portal, Dahiana grabbed her arm.

"Wait." She said.

"What is it, Dahiana?"

"I almost forgot." Digging into her suit's pocket, she pulled out two tickets. "The others and I decided to pitch in and get you and Maja some tickets for the upcoming concert."

"Really?" Aino asked, shocked.

"Yeah. You two deserve it."

"Wow. Thanks." Aino said as she pocketed the tickets.

"Don't mention it. Now come on, the next match might be in an hour, but it will take us some time to get ready." Nodding, the two entered the portal to get ready for the next match.

One Hour Later

Stadium Arena

"Alright. The match will begin momentarily. Please take your seats, Spectators."

'This seems like it's going to be a close match. Just have to steer clear of the twins when they have the BFB. Or lead them near each other and let their sibling rivalry take care of the rest.' Aino thought as she made a mental note of where everyone was. She was in the room that was across from the elevated platform with the portal wall cube on top and pathways that led to the lower level. However, she snapped out of her thoughts when the assault rifle materialized in her hands, followed by the announcer returning.

"Gun Game. Match starts in Five... Four... Three... Two... One. Begin."

Quickly marking the portals, Aino used them to quickly travel to where Team Bravo Typically spawns. And because no one was expecting this, Aino managed to eliminate Mathéo, followed by Dahiana with the Carbine. However, before she could escape through another portal, Maja took her out through the same portal she used to travel.

After a second, Aino respawned on the lower levels of the arena. And despite it only being a second after her elimination, she was already in third place, with the twins taking the lead. Groaning, Aino ran back to the ground floor and carefully looked around for the next person she could eliminate. Luckily, the perfect opportunity came quicker than Aino expected. Creating the portals, Aino used them to get back on top of the elevated platform with the portal wall cube. She then used the surprise and elevation to her advantage to take out Maja with the SMG, followed by Iago with the Battle Rifle. Seeing a dot on her radar, Aino quickly created a new portal to return to the area above Team Bravo's spawn point. She then used the plasma rifle to eliminate Mathéo, who tried to sneak up on her. But like last time, she then became eliminated when Iria took her out with the Sniper Rifle.

'Damn it. Better watch out. Iria now has the bat.' Aino thought as she respawned. But she then noticed what weapon rank she was on. "A shotgun. This will work."

Running back out in the open, Aino winced when Iago knocked out Dahiana with the bat. But she remembered that the weapon after the bat was the railgun which needed to charge up for a few seconds before its wielder could fire it. Creating another set of portals, Aino made her way to the upper levels and surprised Iago. And before he could aim down the sights, she blasted him with the shotgun. Hearing some footsteps behind her, Aino turned around while aiming down the sights of the Sniper Rifle. And she was lucky she did so as Iria came running at her with the bat. Without missing a beat, Aino fired the Sniper Rifle and managed to hit Iria in the head with it.

"Alright. Now my time to shine with the bat." Aino said as she twirled the bat.

Walking over to the edge, Aino scanned the arena for where she could go next to get the drop on an unsuspecting enemy. But it seemed like she would not need to go through with that plan as three others were fighting in the center of the arena. Jetpacking down to the ground floor, she ran up to Dahiana and knocked her out just as she eliminated Mathéo with the plasma rifle. Hearing the distinct sound of portals forming, Aino looked up and saw Maja and Iago flying toward each other. While Maja fired her pistol, Iago twirled his bat. And despite Maja's better aim, she failed to eliminate Iago in time, resulting in him knocking her out with the bat and her body falling to the ground. Not wasting a second, Aino lined up the shot, charged her weapon, fired, and hit Iago before he could escape.

"Wow. Didn't think I would make that shot." Aino said as she readied the rocket launcher. However, before she could leave, she noticed that Maja's body had yet to disappear. Typically, it disappears immediately after being eliminated. Concerned, Aino hurried over to Maja's body and discovered that she was barely conscious and mumbling incoherently. Worried that Maja might have suffered a concussion, she brought up the emergency options on her hud to call for an emergency time out to the game.

"TIME! Player has called for an emergency time-out. Paramedics are needed in the Stadium Arena at once."

"Everything alright, Aino?" Dahiana asked as she and the others gathered around her.

"I think Maja got badly hurt and suffered a concussion when Iago hit her with the bat." Aino answered as she worked to take off Maja's helmet. "Got it."

"Okay. Let me examine her." Mathéo said as he started some tests to see if Maja indeed had a concussion.

'Thank god, Edoardo is a paramedic.' Aino thought.

"Way to go, idiot. You knocked her out!" Iria shouted, pushing her brother.

"How was I supposed to know this would happen? It's never happened before." Iago defended.

"You probably swung as hard as you can."

"I didn't."

"Edoardo." Aino and Dahiana said. Nodding, Edoardo moved behind the twins, picked them up, and separated them.

"HEY! PUT US DOWN!" Iago and Iria demanded as they flailed around.

"They never stop, do they?" Dahiana asked.

"No. No, they do not." Aino answered as the medics finally arrived.

"What happened?" One of the medics asked as two others tended to Maja.

"Hit to the head with a bat. Pupils are dilated. Heart rate is at sixty. She's unresponsive but breathing." Mathéo answered.

"Okay. Get her on the stretcher. We'll need to take her back to the med bay." The head medic said before turning back to Aino. "Care to come? You're close to Maja. You could give us some necessary information while we treat her."

"Sure." Aino answered before following the medics into the portal, with it closing a second later.

"Hopefully, Maja is alright." Dahiana said.

"Yeah." The others agreed.

"Uh, Edoardo. You can put us down now." Iria said. Edoardo nodded before dropping the twins.

"Thanks." They grunted after hitting the floor hard.

"Alright. Let me contact the announcer so we can continue." Mathéo said, with the others agreeing.

Splitgate Med Bay

'Hopefully, Maja is okay.' Aino thought, worried as she waited outside the med bay.

"Aino." The doctor said, snapping Aino from her thoughts.

"Yes?" Aino asked, standing up.

"We checked out Maja, and she's alright. She suffered some minor head trauma from the hit but will make a full recovery within the week."

"That's good. Anything else?"

"Yes. We're giving her some pain medications since she is bound to have headaches and some light sensitivity when she wakes up." The doctor said before handing Aino a bottle of pain medication. "No more than two times a day. Oh, and Maja can't compete in any matches and can't participate in any kind of heavy lifting or strenuous activity."

"Thanks, doctor."

"You can go see her now. She's asleep, so be quiet."

Nodding, Aino entered the med bay and saw Maja asleep on one of the beds. Walking over to the nearby chair, she grabbed it and moved it next to the bed. Aino then sat down, pulled out a book from her bag, and opened it up to continue reading as she waited for Maja to wake up. But before she started, she raised her left arm and grabbed Maja's hand. As much as it pained Aino to see her girlfriend in this state, she knew it was inevitable. It was one of the risks that they agreed to take when they signed up to become a Splitgate contender.

Notes: A Friend asked me to do this.