"This special event of yours...you haven't planned anything too crazy, right, Taichi?"
"It's just that you won't tell us about it, so it makes us worry that we wouldn't let you do it if we knew about it."
"Yamato, you wound me. Don't worry, guys. I cleared it with the principal."
"Given your record this year, that does not console me."
"Come on, Koushiro, lighten up! Taichi's our leader. If the principal approved it, it can't be any worse than the other things he's done this year."
"Thank you, Mimi...I think. Seriously, you will love it. No one's died yet, right?"
"Again, not reassuring."
"Mimi's right. I mean, in hindsight, this year has been fun so far. You know him best and you know he wouldn't do anything super crazy."
"Let me give you a word of advice, Miyako. It is because I know him, that I'm worried. Taichi is always unpredictable. Always."
- Student Council, in the student council room, one week before Sport's Day
After lunch on Sports Day, an announcement rang out across Odaiba High School.
"All students proceed to the front of the school. The final activity hosted by your student council will begin."
Whispers broke out among the students, which was completely understandable. Something like this had not happened before on Sport's Day that they were aware. It wasn't unusual to have some sort of school-wide competition. But it was unusual to have it in the front of the school. However, it was a long line of buses that greeted the students. Each bus was labeled with a set of classes. And a student council member stood at the door to each bus. Teachers and students alike wondered at this unexpected field trip but boarded the buses. Less than an hour later, they came to a stop at the camping ground site that looked familiar to the third years. They were herded out of the buses to stand in front of a platform that had about a dozen chairs on it. Half of the chairs were already occupied by teenagers that some of the students recognized.
Yet, those that knew them had no idea what they were doing here.
The student council filed onto the platform. Most of them had expressions somewhere between amused and exasperated on their faces. Except for the president. Taichi Yagami looked ecstatic and pumped up for something. This should have warned the student body that bad things were about to happen. Unfortunately, the students of Odaiba High still had not learned what they had done.
Megaphone in hand, Taichi took center stage and began to speak. "Welcome, everyone, to our final activity today. We've brought you out here to hold a giant paintball fight!" Taichi spread his arms wide at this announcement. Obligingly, the students cheered loudly. Waving his hands down to bring the noise back down, he continued to explain. "There will be four teams: the first years, the second years, the third years, and us, the student council. The team with the most players left at the end wins. To make things a little fairer, I've brought a few friends to help me out."
This explained the presence of the other mysterious teenagers. Except one, the students that sat up on the podium were middle school students. Many of the high schoolers had no idea what more help a bunch of middle-schoolers would be.
"The time limit is one hour. You will return here if you are out." A feral grin broke out on Taichi's face. "Good luck." Everyone separated to gather their equipment.
What followed was, after that day, known as The Red Massacre of 2006.
"This is Red Leader. Is everyone in position?"
"I don't see why we couldn't have been the pink team."
"I don't see why we need code names."
"Because I'm in charge, Red 5 and Red 2. You should have thought of that before you decided I was your leader."
"Red 8, you look positively radiant today."
"Even when I'm dressed like this?"
"Especially when you're dressed like that."
"Red 7, Red 8, stop flirting over the airways."
"We weren't flirting!"
"Uh...we actually kind of were."
"Oh, shut up, you."
"Oh, get married already!"
"Red 2, my dear brother, I'd like to point out that we are fifteen, and that is illegal."
"Well, in some places, it's not if you have parental permission."
"Do I even want to know why you know that, Red 10?"
"Uh...not really, no."
"What does it matter? Could you even imagine my mom giving permission for that?"
"Are you acknowledging that the only reason you aren't going through with it is because you couldn't get parental permission?"
"What are you saying?! And stop laughing!"
"Are you guys teasing? Or are you actually together? Because that would be adorable if you were."
"We are NOT together. Seriously, stop laughing."
"Cut the chatter, Red Team. Did everyone forget we're actually here for a reason?"
"How could anyone possibly forget this hare-brained scheme of yours?"
"Good. Now, is everyone in position?"
"Ready when you are, Red Leader."
"Then let's show them why we are the greatest team in any world."
"Oh, yeah. I am so pumped for this!"
It began with a trickle which led to a river until it became a flood. Students streamed from the woods, all out after being shot with the paintballs. Here and there you found ones with a splatter of blue, yellow, or green.
But the majority were red.
Students checked in their paint guns to their homeroom teacher before taking seats in the grass in front of the stage.
Then the stories started.
"Two of them came running at me, screaming like mad men. I lifted my gun to shoot, except bam! Red paint appeared on my front. And I swear they didn't lift their guns."
Similar stories floated about. The most prominent statements heard were some variation of the following:
"Did you see them?"
"I never saw them, did you?"
"No, I didn't see them."
"It came out of nowhere."
A half hour into the competition, everyone kind of started to realize the same thing. The whispers continued to pass around. The stage remained empty. Not a single member of the student council team had been taken out.
As the students glanced around, taking note of the sea of red paint around them, they began to figure it out. And with that realization followed acceptance.
They should have known better than to go against the student council.
Fifteen minutes later, most of the students had been shot out. The majority, again, sporting red paint. A figure emerged from the trees without a speck of paint on their armor. An expectant hush fell over the crowd of students as the figure mounted the stage and sat in one of the chairs. The figure removed their helmet to reveal a blue-black haired boy. He wasn't a member of the student council, but he had been one of the other people sitting on the stage when they arrived. He sat the helmet on the chair next to him. He reached into his pocket and put on a pair of glasses. And then did nothing.
What was he doing? There didn't appear to be any paint on him that they could see.
One student near the stage could not contain his curiosity. "Who are you?" he asked.
The older boy looked at him. "I'm Red 6—I mean, Jou Kido."
When he didn't offer anything else, another student asked, "Are you out?"
"No," Jou answered. "Red Leader—I mean, Taichi sent me to watch over you guys because the tournament is almost over. Which reminds me…is anyone injured," he asked, raising the volume of his voice. "I know Taichi and Daisuke can be…enthusiastic. If anyone has any scrapes, I have a first aid kit, and I'd be happy to help." Even as he spoke, he pulled a small box out from the pouch on his belt. Which lead some students to wonder if he always had it with him or if it was a special occasion.
Jou walked among the students, treating minor injuries. Most of the injuries came more from running in a forest rather than the actual fighting in the paintball. He looked at his watch every few minutes as he moved around. Finally, he looked at his watch one last time before he jumped up and walked back onto the stage. He pulled out a pair of earplugs and put them into his ears. Reaching under the podium, he brought out a fog horn. Those closed to the stage had only a few seconds to realize what he was doing and cover their ears. The siren blared across the area, signaling the end of the competition, calling the remaining students back to the clearing. There were about half a dozen third years, a handful of second years, and a couple of first years.
At last, from the tree line, there strode a group of eleven. The confidence they portrayed in every synchronized step was almost palpable across the group. The red tint to their armor gave away their identity.
The student council team.
Not a one had so much as a speck of paint on them.
The student council and their friends had taken on the entire student body of Odaiba High and won. One student in particular put into words the general feelings of the group.
"Heaven help us, there are more of Them."
Author's Notes: In case you were wondering:
Red Leader- Taichi
Red 2- Yamato
Red 3- Sora
Red 4- Koushiro
Red 5- Mimi
Red 6- Jou
Red 7- Takeru
Red 8- Hikari
Red 9- Daisuke
Red 10- Ken
Red 11- Miyako
Red 12- Iori