With a weary groan, Buck woke up.

When you were trained as a Militia Pilot, there were a few things you learned on the Frontier.

First, pain is good. It meant you were alive. And judging by the massive headache he was having, as well as the soreness that echoed throughout the rest of his body, he was very alive.

Secondly, know your surroundings. A blind man is a dead man. So it was with that piece of advice in mind that he began to analyze his current location, growing more confused as he did so. He seemed to be in an arena of sorts, a narrow box with hexagonal panels that displayed an obviously false environment around it.

He also saw that he wasn't alone in the arena; nearby were five other individuals, stirring feebly just as he had been. They wore similar gear as him, indicating that they were Pilots too.

The colors were off, though; while some he could see belonged to different factions of Militia, two of them were IMC colors, which led him to the third rule he'd learned.

The only good IMC Pilot was a dead one.

Struggling to get to his feet and shake out the last vestiges of grogginess with him, he shambled over to the group and did a quick once-over of everyone.

Two olive-drab, that was MCOR. There was grey armored individual that he recognized as a member of the Wings, a branch of the Militia that specialized in aerial combat. It was usually composed of 'pilots-turned-Pilots', and while they weren't as comfortable with their boots on the ground as other Pilots, they could still get the job done.

That left the last two; the IMC pair. Both were white in color, a good sign that they were just general lackeys of Hammond Industries, not members of the Apex predators or Ares Division. And though he didn't have any solid evidence at the moment, he had a good feeling that their people were behind this.

He grabbed the one that was nearest to him, a man, and held him up in the air by the throat. "What the hell is this? What did you do?"

Tiredly, the man seemed confused but became more agitated as he too looked around. "Wha … What the hell?! Where am I?"

"That's what I just asked you," growled Buck, squeezing the man's throat a little tighter. "Now, are you going to answer?"

One of the MCOR Pilots finally noticed what was going on. "Whoa, what's going on?" She walked over to Buck, noticing his black armor.

He nodded towards the IMC Pilot in his grip. "I'm trying to find that out from 'tight-lips' over here."

The man in his hold shook his head rapidly. "I- I don't know! I'm just as- as confused as you are!"

"You're lying!" Buck accused with a sneer, but the rambling of the Pilot sounded oddly genuine. He was sure that the IMC was pulling the strings here … but maybe this one guy in particular didn't have anything to do with it.

The other IMC Pilot, a woman, looked up and noticed what was going on. "Hey! Drop him!"

She moved forward to engage, but the MCOR Pilot next to him kept her from doing that. Defending Buck, she murmured, "What's the plan here?"

And just like that, he realized that he'd been placed in a position of power. With the others still getting up, what happened next was up to him. And quite frankly, he wanted answers more than bloodshed at the moment.

After one last moment of tension, he released the IMC Pilot's throat and let him fall to the ground, where he massaged his neck and coughed violently. The female IMC Pilot rushed to his side, and began to assess him. "Are you okay? Are you hurt anywhere else?"

Meanwhile, Buck turned his attention towards the other two who had finally woken up. The Wings Pilot moved over to him, and took a look around. "This sure as shit ain't where I remember being last," he declared in an obvious fashion. "Reckon it's some IMC trick?"

A few minutes ago, Buck wouldn't have had any doubts. But now, with the way the IMC Pilot had reacted, he wasn't so sure. Not to mention that while Hammond wasn't too concerned with the lives of its soldiers, he was pretty sure that they wouldn't easily throw away valuable assets. Pilots were an expensive endeavor.

"It's someone's trick," he replied. "But I'm not too sure about who's behind it."

The other MCOR Pilot suddenly held both hands to his head. "I can't … can anyone remember anything before this? How we got here?"

Buck suddenly realized that he had no idea how he'd even gotten here, let alone where they were. The last thing he remembered, he'd been engaged in a small skirmish near Angel City. Had they lost? Was this a prison of sorts?

Judging by the bodily behavior of the other Pilots, he assumed that they too were experiencing a lack of short-term memory.

The female MCOR Pilot, the one who'd guarded him, shook her head. "It's fuzzy for me. I think … I was left behind after I missed an evac ship. I was stranded, walking by myself and then-"

She turned to Buck. "Just static."

He didn't like the sound of that. He liked it even less when a loud echoing noise emanated throughout the arena, very similar to the sound of a loudspeaker suddenly being turned on.

Every Pilot, Militia and IMC alike, suddenly formed a circle with their backs to the center. Subconsciously, they all realized that they were in this together, whether they wanted it or not. They began to scan the surrounding area for a threat of any kind.

"Hello. I hope you all had a nice rest."

The voice over the loudspeaker was female, synthetic. And cold, very lacking from an emotional standpoint. They sounded much like a cat would when it plays with its food, and Buck wasn't fond of the comparison from where he was standing.

"What the hell is this?!" he yelled to whoever was speaking. "What are you doing with us?"

"Oh, I'm not going to do anything," they purred. "I'll leave the killing up to you."

With a whirr of mechanized machinery, they all looked up at the ceiling where one of the hexagonal panels had been removed, and something dropped into the arena. It was a weapon's pod, a cache of firearms for their choosing.

"Welcome to Live Fire."

A/N: In all honesty, I don't know how much I'm going to do with this. This was just a small idea I was thinking of for a story based around the new game mode in Titanfall 2's latest update. I was originally planning to do this as a one-shot, but if you guys like it then I don't mind continuing it.

- Matteoarts