An friendly looking orange Octoling girl with her pink hair done up in a bun was holding a microphone in front of a TV Broadcast camera. She was wearing a professional khaki suit, a skirt, and black low heels.
"This is Lily Corriente coming to you live from Arowana Mall in Inkopolis, where we've at long last made contact with the legendary Tortuga of the former Squidbeak Splatoon Training Camp." Much to the dismay of the group, the determined reporter walked around to the side of the table, shoving the microphone in the purple inkling's face. "Tell us, where have you been all this time?"
Tortuga's form was squished against the side of the table, trying her best to back away from the mic. "Uhh...yeah can we like...not? I ain't in the mood for...talkin'."
"Nonsense!" The Octoling reporter pressed her further, "Everyone wants to know whether or not you were actually accepted as Agent 5!"
"AGENT 5?!" Her three friends shouted in unison while spitting their drinks out.
"Tory, what?! Ya'll ain't told us nothin' about trainin' to become an Agent!" Sandbar exclaimed.
"Yeah! Tell us all about it!" Ravine shouted.
Trident's eyelids were twitching like strained rubber bands. "THAT IS SERIOUSLY ULTRA-COOL!" His outburst caused his friends to pause. They couldn't remember the last time he looked so excited. "...Ahem. Of course if you choose not to speak of it, then we won't judge you."
"Eh, nah. It's fine." The dark purple inkling girl shrugged. Not wanting to disappoint her friends (and because she knew the Inkopolis News was very annoying), she decided to continue. "Truth is, yeah. Ever since we stopped bein' a Turf War Team I've been trainin' to be Agent 5 and-"
Her three friends nearly launched themselves into Tortuga's face. Their heads squished together as they were fanboy/girling over her. "TELLUSTELLUSTELLUS!"
"Ugh..." she exhaled and casually pushed them back with her hands. "I didn't end up gettin' there. I failed."
Just like before, her friends shouted all at once. "WHAT?!"
The orange Octo newscaster was disappointed to hear this. "Oh...so you're not Agent 5?"
"Ah, sorry about that, miss. Carry on." The news team packed up and disappeared just as fast as they had showed up.
"Tch figures. They ain't even bothered to ask if I knew who Agent 5 really was. They don't care about anyone but themselves..." the dark violet inkling resumed her meal, dunking some fish sticks into mayo.
But before she could take a bite, she noticed her friends giving her wide-eyed stares.
"Um...yous got somethin' to say?"
Trident cleared his throat. "Ahem. Yes, well first off. Now that those pesky newspeople are gone, we would like to know exactly why you wanted to become Agent 5 in the first place. As well as the fact of...how you didn't make it.."
Both Sandbar and Ravine nodded in agreement.
After munching on her fishsticks, Tortuga gave her response. "Well, it's simple: I tried out, endured the trainin' for over a year, and lost to someone betta. Nothin' else to it."
"Um..." Trident gave the other two a look, shaking his head a bit. A silent plea to avoid further discussion of the topic. "Alright. Anyway, would you like to hear about what we've been doing in the past year?"
Now a bit more eager, Tortuga was glad to have the attention off of her for a change. Ready to listen to each of them with bated breath. "Oh yeah! Whatcha been doin' guys?"
"I'll go first," Trident continued. "I've been spending my time with the local chess team. Humans really did invent pretty clever board games. We uh...we even won five tournaments in the last year. Not to mention my ongoing research into the Kingdom of Atlantis, which I still have yet to prove the existence of." As much as he enjoyed it, there was the slightest hint of dryness in his voice that he tried to hide.
"I've been...around." Sandbar reiterated the practiced phrase. "Just sorta been runnin' an online business sellin' old human stuff. The Salmon Run shifts help ya find all sortsa cool stuff that washes ashore." His eyes darted left, right. In the back of his head though, he felt otherwise.
Ravine was last to explain herself. "I've been working at this little coffee (s)thop downtown for the lasth year. Ith been...fun. Even though the manager won't let me rank up because he wanth me to stay a waitressth for some reason." Once she had finished her own spiel, a long, awkward pause lingered over the group. Each of them not wanting to express something in a certain way.
It was only after a few minutes of silence that Tortuga had finally broken it. "...Guys. Are y'all really happy with what ya've been doin' the past year? Or are ya just doin' these things cuz ya feel like ya have to?"
And in response, all she received was more silence. Followed up by the gentle sipping of a drink.
"Ugh! Are ya'll serious? Ya do a buncha borin' jobs for a year and get nothin' done with ya lives, and then all the sudden ya jump at the chance to investigate some stolen sneakas?"
"Hey, admittedly it was...quite enjoyable to be honest," Trident responded. "It was the most fun I've had in awhile."
"Yeah. Like, it was nice to be in the heat of action again. Even if it was just for some shoes," Sandbar commented.
Ravine giggled. "Hehe! It wath pretty scary being in all that danger. But like...fun scary!"
As they gave their words of agreement, it made Tortuga think hard. Folding her arms and shutting her eyes to give herself a silent moment. Would it really be worth it? Putting themselves in harm's way just to go around writing wrongs and making the city cleaner?
She considered her own past. Her own upbringing, and how it affected her daily life.
"Maybe this won't be so bad," she thought to herself, "If we can, why not at least TRY and make a difference here. This city may look like sunshine and rainbows on the outside, but on the inside..."
"Tory?" The mute violet inkling's thoughts were interrupted by a Ravine poking her cheek with a fishstick. "Did ya fall athleep?"
"Hm? Nah." She said before she snapped the fishstick away from her friend using her jaws. Swallowing it whole. "I gots an idea guys. Meet me at my garage later." With that, she hastily rose from the table and ran off, leaving her three friends puzzled.
Following Tortuga's orders, the three of them would arrive at her small house near the edge of the city. A more desolate area filled with silence and a lack of life. A far cry from what the middle of Inkopolis usually was.
Sandbar was the first to question the situation. "Whaddya think she wants, ya'll?"
"I'm not sure, but whatever it is...it intrigues me," the studious cyan inkling responded.
Ravine was busy taking selfies with her Squidphone X, posing in front of the new areas she visited.
The garage door opened up, revealing a giant board in the back with the letters "TWIC," writted in large, bold black.
"Ey guys. Welcome to the first meetin' of the Turf War Investigation Crew!"