"Welcome. This is the final portion of your exam. Everybody, go to the rooftop, your transport is there. You will be debriefed upon arrival."
Everybody in the small room stared at the small black box at the center of the table. It was dead silent until one of the people in the room stood up and stretched.
"Don't I feel loved? I get told what to do by a box."
He had bright red hair kept out of his face by a pair of goggles perched on his head. With a sly grin, he looked over at the others.
"Let's go…So, you're the tall, silent one, aren't ya?"
The sarcasm was more or less ignored, not to mention, he had to look upwards to even make eye contact with Rude, who wondered how old he was. However, he remained silent just like the rest of the room. This caused him to cross his arms and huff in annoyance.
"Wow, I've had better conversations with a wall than you people."
"We're on a mission. Could you just shut up?"
Somebody else stood up while slamming his palm down on the table. He was in his early to mid twenties and was well built. He flippantly tossed his short brown hair and straightened his suit.
"Technically, we're not on mission yet. Besides, what's the sin for talking?"
The redhead shrugged as he was shoved to the side. He waited for the others to leave before exiting the room himself. Altogether, that made seven of them. Rude had seen and even met the others already from the academy, but the redhead was a mystery. He recalled never seeing a person like that in the school. The red headed Turk trainee smirked as he walked, but kept his eye trained forward.
"So, ya tense?"
Rude nodded his head once at the inquiry. They were all on the last leg of the test to determine if they were capable of field duty in the Turks. They were elite task force employed by one of the fastest growing companies in the world. It took years of training, then internship, and then the final exam to become one. There was a lot of pressure and it stood to reason people would be tense.
"So, what d'ya think their gonna make us do?"
Despite the tension in the air, the redhead continued to chatter away. They finally reached the roof of the building where a large aircraft waited for the passengers. Ignoring the roar of the engine, all seven boarded. The carrier was spacious enough and everybody was able to site comfortably.
"Only a short while longer and we'll find out what you people are made of."
Suddenly, an eighth person boarded and he cut an imposing figure. Everybody recognized him as Tseng, field leader of the Turks, second only to the commanding head, Veld. Ebony hair was pulled up neatly into a ponytail and no strands were out of place.
"We have a little bit of a trip, so I'm going to go over your profiles."
Seemingly out of nowhere, Tseng managed to pull out a decent stack of plain folders.
"Let's see…Victoria Gables."
A young woman stood and smartly saluted. She was fairly short and had shoulder length, dull brown hair. Though she stood at attention, there was a thick aura of nervous tension oozing off her. Tseng nodded to her and motioned for her to sit down.
"Ranked fourth in your class. Specialty is technology, but are no slouch with a staff. Fairly proficient in magic. Defensive materia. Very good…Next, Todd…Gables. Related?"
"Yes sir, twins."
He looked over at the young man standing. The others recognized him as the one who snapped at the redhead earlier.
While their was a definite similarity between the two, Todd seemed to have gotten the better deal from the gene pool. Unlike his sister, who appeared startling plain, Todd had shiny brown hair and one of those rugged good looks type of face. He stood with confidence and sat just as well.
"Top of your class with a specialty in swords. Excellent proficiency with all type of materia. Exceptional student."
There was a smug grin on his face as he glanced at his sister who just avoided eye contact and stared at the ground.
The large man stood up quietly, nodded and sat back down. Having attention on him was beginning to make him feel uncomfortable. It always had.
"Ranked second…Interesting. A fist fighter. There hasn't been one of those for a while. Good with offensive magic particularly of the fire element."
Rude shifted his position uncomfortably as all eyes were on him. He did not need nor want the attention.
"So, tall, dark, and bald has a name."
The redhead smirked while he stared lazily ahead of him. Rude thought the young man could fall asleep right there. Something about the way he stared at him was unnerving. Bright aqua eyes were a rarity regardless of ethnicity and his seemed to see right through him. He became all the more uncomfortable as he noticed the odd stares the others were giving them. The redhead smirked some more before averting his gaze and looking at Tseng. He happily raised his arm.
"Hey, boss-person, can I guess what mine says?"
The occupants stared in shock at the blatant disregard for any proper decorum. They were even more shocked at Tseng's reaction. They were anticipating an angry bellow or even some sort of physical punishment, not the somewhat amused and exasperated expression. It went against their impressions to say the least.
"Name's Reno. No first, no last, just Reno. I might not look it, but I kick major ass no matter what weapon I'm using, but I like EMR's the best. I can use pretty much any materia but I'm the best with lightening and certain types of restorative."
He finished with a proud smirk and crossed his arms. While unorthodox, the self-introduction was quite fun to listen to. Not to mention, it drew all the attention to himself so it was no longer focused on Rude. He was very thankful for that. On the other hand, Tseng just shook his head and rolled his eyes.
"Thank you for gracing us with your eloquence. Moving on."
Reno shrugged and began letting his eyes wander. Actually, single eye. Rude wondered what happened to the young man. The redhead had bandages wrapped around his head and covering his left eye completely. A single length of bandage stretched across his face and under the other eye. His attention was side tracked, however, when Tseng seemed to complete the reports.
"…Ice elemental. So, now that I know who you are, you better know each other. The mission and your lives depend on it."
Rude glanced at the others as they began to eye each other nervously. Well, except for Reno who was still smirking in a lethargic manner and Todd who was confidently flashing a bright smile and quickly taking charge.
"So, do you think Barbie misses her little Ken?"
He turned his head around to face the redhead again. Reno was grinning wickedly while he kept an eye on him under a hooded lid. Rude felt a small smirk tug on the sides of his mouth.
"Thinkin' the same thing, huh? I'd take plain Jane over him."
What an odd person this Reno turned out to be. His manner and methods for treating the current situation was a complete opposite of everybody else. There was something off, but in the end, Rude decided that the redhead was different from them in a way he could not quite explain. At least, for now that is.
"Dude, stop staring."
Reno was still casually leaning against the ship's metallic hull. He matched the stare Rude had apparently been giving him, but with much more amusement. Suddenly, the aircraft seemed to slightly jerk before Rude felt the sensation of dropping altitude.
"We've landed. Now, the only things you are allowed to use are whatever you specialize in. This is to test your resourcefulness and ability to execute a simple task. Understood?"
Everybody saluted and then exited the aircraft. They were standing in a small clearing in a rather dense forest. The others looked around and noticed Tseng remained in the aircraft. So, that meant they had to coordinate their own mission.
"The goal is for us to see how you handle things. However, there will be a Turk present just to kept things in line. Good luck and happy hunting."
The aircraft shut the doors and ascended high into the sky, leaving a group of rookies to their own devices.
"Right. The goal is to retrieve the data and apprehend the target. There are not many guards so it should be simple enough. I've done this multiple times during training. If everybody is willing, I would gladly take charge of this mission."
Rude saw Victoria roll her eyes and silently sigh. The others were probably thinking the same thing, but still, it was better than them having to do it. More leadership, more responsibility. So, the agreement was unanimous except for one, who was a little less eager to agree.
"Yeah, no objection here, but…internship training don't make you a professional."
Todd remained calm even though it was obvious it irritated him. Rude gauged his reaction carefully and came to the conclusion that Todd was not used to being spoken to in such a manner as that.
"I'll always be more of a professional than you."
He glared menacingly at Reno, expecting him to back down or cower, but instead, the redhead began to laugh as if Todd had told him the funniest joke and only he got the punchline. It was slightly awkward and unnerving. Nothing good could come of their situation if one of them were to start losing it now. However, he quickly collected himself and smirked at Todd.
"That right? Well then, lead the way. I await your commands."
He made a mock gesture of bowing while grinning like a mad man. Rude was actually glad to see Todd look so disoriented. He quickly gathered his thoughts though and attempted to regain order.
"Now that that's settled. Head out."
Everybody followed the leader and even the young redhead followed, but not before winking and flashing a sly grin towards Victoria. A light tinge of pink graced her cheeks. Rude also filed away that Reno was most likely a womanizer. He shook his head and brought up the rear.
After walking silently through the forest a while, they reached a riverside warehouse. Before going any further, the small group hid behind an outcropping of rocks and huddled together.
"Right. Victoria, Trista, Reno, go scout around the area and report what you find."
"Alright, I get to go with the good lookin' ones."
He grinned at Victoria who blushed again and Trista, a stocky, yet full figured, intimidating woman, shook her head. They quietly sprinted off leaving the rest behind to formulate a strategy.
"The best plan will probably be to split up into two groups. Corner him and grab him, easy as that."
"You sure that's good enough? I've always heard they throw some kind of curve ball during these things."
The man who spoke was probably the oldest in the group. It would be no surprise if he was already thirty.
"Scott, right? No worries. It won't be anything we can't handle."
"How about savin' it until after we get through this?"
The trio of scouts returned and joined the group. The girls were breathing deeper than usual, but Reno did not appear to be fazed by the run at all.
"Seems there are a few more guards than expected."
"Define a 'few' more."
"As in there's twice as many guards…at least. There could be more inside."
Todd eyed his sister before rubbing his chin thoughtfully.
"Alright. We'll try and sneak in. We'll divide into two groups. It will be easier to avoid detection. Alright, Vic, you, Reno, and Rude go around back. I'll go with the rest on the other side. Got it?"
The redhead stared blankly at the stand-in leader. Todd looked like he was about ready to smack him before releasing an exasperated sigh.
"What don't you get?"
"What do we do when we get inside? It's not just an infiltration. We gotta have a plan for inside too."
Todd began to blush. Rude had to hand it to Reno. He was doing a fine job irritating the hell out of Todd, and making a good point.
"We should get inside and scout the inside from our respective positions. Then, we can determine the best course of action. Texting will work fine."
Everybody was fairly surprised, including her brother, when Victoria proposed her plan of action. However, it was evident that Todd did not like being upstaged by his sister. He shot her an evil glare causing her to look away.
"Just a suggestion…"
"We are timed here…We'll get inside, look around, but be ready to act immediately. Alright, let's go."
They split into the two groups and trekked along the landscape until they were able to get to the back of the building. For the most part, nobody seemed to be noticed. The few guards they could not sneak by, Rude was easily able to sneak behind, cover their mouth and effectively snap their necks like twigs.
"Alrighty, we're in."
The threesome managed to quietly move inside and crouch behind a large stack of wooden boxes. Victoria quickly scanned the boxes and whispered to the others.
"These are the weapons…Look, over there!"
She nodded her head towards a second level catwalk. Standing and talking with some other men was their target. He was the typical middle-aged businessman. He was flanked by four guards.
Victoria and Rude turned to look at their companion. Reno still looked lazy as ever, but his eye was quickly flicking back and forth as he scanned the area. The female of the group pulled out her PHS, flipped it open and took a video feed with the camera function. She directed it from one end and slowly rotated it across the room.
Reno stopped scanning the area to stare at Victoria and her PHS screen. She tilted her PHS so the other two could see the video.
"Clever. Ya get to see the room without havin' to be seen."
Victoria seemed to blush at the compliment, but it was quickly pushed to the side as she gradually became more nervous. She began to gnaw on her bottom lip.
"You're right…It is strange. Why aren't there more guards around?"
Rude also took a moment to scan the area. There was a definite lack in security and that was enough to put him on edge. Even if he thought he would be safe, somebody going against ShinRa should have at least a few more guards around.
"I'll text Todd."
Her fingers quickly glided over the keypad. She sent the message and waited for a response. In a moment, a light went off. Rude and Reno crowded around to read the response.
"4get it. Careless. Move 4 surprise."
Reno snorted when he finished reading the note.
"Chump might be careless, but we can't be careless either…Somethin's gonna go wrong…He doesn't have much faith in you, does he?"
Victoria shook her head.
"But he has the right…I screw up a lot."
"Join the club, Girlie."
He gave her a flashy smirk and went back to studying the room's layout. Victoria looked at Rude.
"What do you think?"
"Layout could pose a problem."
Reno whipped his head around to stare in exaggerated astonishment at Rude.
"He speaks! And he makes a point…Heh, keep sharp, we'll let the hot shot do what he wants, but be on guard."
"You would have been a better leader."
Reno stared at her questioningly. Rude nodded in agreement. The redhead shrugged carelessly.
"Maybe…Hard to tell in this situation…Oh look, the evil male version of you is movin' in."
Sure enough, Todd and his group were slowly making their way to the center of the room. Rude glanced at Reno who did not seem to like their choice in action. However, they too advanced, if only to be close by in case something went wrong.
Todd motioned towards the older trainee who nodded and pulled out a few small throwing knives. With an artful flick of his wrist, the blades went soaring. That simple motion was more than enough for all hell to break loose.
Two of the guards fell to the blades causing their target to remain confident. That was not a good sign. Reno cursed under his breath when all the guards from outside entered and a few more appeared on the catwalk.
"Hey, look Todd, it's a trap!"
Reno's sarcasm did nothing to help the now frazzled leader. They were, for the most part, in the worst possible position. On instinct, they grouped together with their back against each other.
"Good job…Very impressive for a bunch of wannabes."
Like all good, arrogant businessmen, this fellow took a moment to congratulate himself. Rude really hated those kind of people. He glanced down to his side at the redhead. He was incredibly calm despite the situation. People might assume Rude was also unnaturally calm, but he knew he was panicked like the others on the inside. But Reno, it was clear he was simply calm. His muscles were tense and his bright aqua eye kept staring at their captor. It was the type of calm someone has when he knows he is the superior.
"You're probably all proud that you sneaked in and took out a few of my guards. But guess what? I knew you'd be coming so I prepared this surprise. Not even you're superiors were aware of this."
"They are now."
The businessman glared at Reno who pulled out an open PHS. Sometime between seeing Todd and moving in, he dialed headquarters. He smirked smugly as he folded the PHS and put it in his pocket.
"Gotta give ya credit for figuring it out. Don't ya feel special? Ya managed to trap a bunch of greenhorn rookies. There's a real feather for your cap."
Apparently, Reno had a knack for irritating people other than Todd. The others looked at Reno with a mixture of respect, shock, and confusion. The businessman grew red in the face but was unable to speak. The redhead kept going.
"Hate to break it to ya, but you're the one who's gonna get played. Heh, I can be quite a shock."
His grin grew larger when he suddenly gave off a pale green glow and summoned the energy from a materia. Suddenly, a bright light flooded the warehouse as a massive surge of electricity flowed through the metal catwalk. The people on the top level collapsed completely stunned.
"Behind the boxes, now!"
The moment their enemy was distracted was when the Turk trainees sprinted for the boxes at the rear of the building. They crouched behind the boxes while they decided on a game plan.
"So, what do we do now, Leader?"
Reno stared at Todd smugly causing the other to twitch nervously and glare daggers.
"Right, we have to grab him before he gets away. Charge the enemy and then grab him."
"How? They got guns, we pretty much don't...except for the gunslinger."
Victoria pointed to another young man who pulled out two handguns but looked increasingly nervous.
"Just shut up, Vic! Right, some can split up and-"
"Bad idea, Fabio. I don't think anybody wants to die tonight."
Rude could not quite place what it was, but there was a definite shift of behavior in Reno. While not changing in expression or appearance, he gave off a more confident air rather than the nervous tension threatening to suffocate them all. However, this also did not help the already frayed nerves of Todd who immediately snapped at him.
"What do you propose then?!"
"Thought you'd never ask…You, guy with the guns."
"Right. Stay behind here and give cover fire…Old guy with knives, keep people away from redox guy."
"Scott…And I'm not that old."
"Sorry. The Amazon and the model, cover the exits. Nobody in, nobody out."
Both Todd and the woman, Trista, glared at Reno who held his hands up defensively.
"Sheesh, I'll learn your names later or somethin'. You two, help me out here. I'm gonna go nab the guy and…gently convince him to surrender."
Everybody agreed with a nod of the head and prepared to attack. Everybody gripped their weapons tightly and took slow and even deep breaths. Victoria moved to stand by Reno's left while Rude stood to the right.
"Ready, set, and go!"
They took off in a flash. They may not have been the professionals yet, but they were still highly trained and lethal.
When they made their move, Rude was surprised at Reno's speed. The moment he initiated the attack, Reno sprinted for the stairs leading to where the stunned businessman was beginning to come around. Rude and Victoria did their best to keep up. They watched as Reno glided up the stairs and skillfully maneuvered around bodies and incoming attacks. Anything not in his immediate vicinity was ignored. The fist set of guards were also regaining consciousness and many were already up with guns drawn. Reno left most of them for Rude and Victoria to take out. He apparently had enough trust in them to keep the guards away and keep them from shooting him.
Not about to let anybody down tonight, they did just that. Rude quickly took down one with a well-placed punch while Victoria spun her staff around cracking skulls in the process. Rudelooked around to find Reno and was impressed when he saw him.
"Please, don't do anything!"
"Lucky for you we're ordered to bring ya in alive."
Reno twirled a short stick while he prowled dangerously close to the cornered businessman. Rude recognized the weapon as an electrified night stick many called an EMR. He found it odd how Reno would use it as a weapon. He always assumed such a thing was reserved as a passive aggressive tool used by night guards. Another oddity to add to a rapidly growing list.
"Whatcha lookin' so happy for? Just because ya have to be alive doesn't mean I can't hurt ya."
The EMR crackled as blue electricity sparked the entire length. He raised his arm and brought it down swiftly. Rude was surprised, once more, as the EMR hovered over the man but never touched him. The businessman promptly passed out.
"Guy's can stop now, I've got your boss!"
He happily waved to down below where the few guards left stopped in their tracks and dropped their weapons. It was a great relief for all when the skirmish ended. Reno stretched lazily and leaned on the catwalk's railing.
"Hey, Mr. Leader, aren't ya gonna have somebody pick us up?"
He called down to Todd who was currently tying up a few of the guards. He growled in response but pulled out his PHS nonetheless and dialed Headquarters.
"Yes, sir. Mission status: complete. No injuries. Target successfully apprehended…Yes, sir."
Todd hung up his PHS and looked around. Once again, he was in control of things.
"We are to remain here until Tseng arrives and instructs us."
Everybody in the room seemed to relax at that. Many finished restraining the guards and resting. Reno leaned heavily on the railing as he slowly lowered himself into a sitting position while keeping his right leg extended. Victoria walked over and knelt down beside him.
"Are you hurt?"
"What? No, just made an old injury I made kinda sore when I ran around. Nothin' big."
Rude walked up and sat down with them.
"Must be recent."
"Oh, what makes you say that, Mr. Clean?"
Rude softly snorted at being compared to a cleaning brand, but shook it off.
"You've been favoring it the whole time."
"Wow, observant, aren't ya?…It's always the quiet ones. Anyways, both of ya, good job in covering my weak points."
Victoria smiled shyly at Reno who just smirked.
"Tonight would be a really good night to get wasted."
Both looked at him oddly. Reno blinked back curiously.
"What? Don't all of you?"
"How old are you?"
Victoria stared at him incredulously. In all honesty, Rude was also curious as to his age. While he by no means looked childish, Reno was visibly younger than everybody else.
"Nineteen. Gonna be twenty kind of soon. See? I'm not too young!"
That was a bit of an unexpected answer. He would have guess at least a bit over twenty years of age. Even though there was no specific rule in regards to age limit, it was just uncommon to be under the age of twenty years. Actually, this would be the first time hearing about it.
"Seriously?! I'm twenty-five."
"Really, now? So, how old are ya big guy?"
"Wow, what a bunch of old farts…Just kidding. Yeah, I guess I'm a little bit younger than most."
"Good work everyone!"
They were interrupted by a loud, commanding voice. Everybody recognized it as Tseng who stood tall and proud in the center of the room.
"Clean up will take it from here. Board the aircraft and we'll leave."
The Turk trainees saluted and began walking away.
Victoria and Rude stood up while Reno remained sitting. The larger man offered his hand and easily lifted him off the ground.
He nodded in acknowledgment and the three followed the group out. Outside the building, the aircraft was on the ground waiting for its passengers.
After boarding, they all found a place to sit and enjoyed the silence on their trip home. Only at one point did anybody talk and that was Tseng giving directions.
"You've successfully completed the mission. Upon arrival you are dismissed to do as you please but I suggest getting some sleep. Tomorrow morning at 500 hours sharp, you will report to the training room. That is all."
They finally landed down at the ShinRa building and got off. Everybody was physically and emotionally drained now that the adrenaline rush was wearing off. Without a whole lot of pep in their step, the Turk trainees slowly made their way to the trainee dorms.
"Why five in the morning? I don't wanna."
Reno whined as he walked back with Rude and Victoria. However, when they stopped, he kept going.
"Where are you going?"
Victoria watched him wander away. He waved over his shoulder.
"Gotta do something. See ya tomorrow!"
They watched him leave and Victoria sighed.
"What an oddball…Cute to boot though. Night, Rude."
He had to agree with her, at least on the "oddball" part. Stepping into his temporary room, he found the gunslinger, Rusty, lying on his bed. He was twirling one of his guns deftly as Rude walked by and sat down on his own bed.
"Pretty exciting, huh?"
"Great, I got the conversationalist. C'mon, loosen up a little…I know, what about that redhead, Reno?"
"What about him?"
Rude opened a small closet and made sure there was another suit. Rusty sat up and looked over.
"Kid's crazy, no? Haha, I loved that expression Todd made each time Reno showed him up one. Makes you wonder though, how come a kid like that was so with it?"
The larger man was not really interesting in the gossiping. He decided it was better to leave it. He would get answers eventually, if they both stayed around long enough.
"Different is a nice way of putting it. Ah well, kid's fun though. See you in the morning."
With much relief for Rude, Rusty tucked his gun under his pillow and threw the covers over himself. Rude quietly flipped off the light switch and got into his own bed. It did not take long before he was asleep.
It also did not take long before an alarm clock went off. Rude quickly pressed the "off" button and sat up. The clock read 4:30 a.m. He stoically managed to get up and get ready. By the time he took a shower, got dressed, and entered the training room, his wristwatch read 4:50 a.m.
Glancing around the room, he found only a few people already present. Victoria was standing to the side leaning against the wall and Trista was on the floor stretching. The door to the room opened and the three remaining males walked in. Actually, Rude noticed Reno was missing. However, he soon realized he was already in the room.
Reno was in a corner sleeping in a chair. The seat was balancing on the back two legs while his feet were propped up on a small card table.
"You don't think he slept there, do you?"
Rusty walked by Rude and over to Victoria.
"How long has he been there?"
She shrugged at his question.
"Don't know, he was there before any of us got here."
Indeed, it really did appear that he had slept the night away in the chair. His uniform was wrinkled, the shirt un-tucked and a few top buttons undone. There was no tie and he did not bother to zip his jacket. Then again, Rude recalled that he had been looking like that since all of yesterday.
"I want to know how he can keep hair like that."
Trista looked up from where she was stretching. The others hand not really thought about it. Reno's hair color was fairly unique and his hairstyle was just as unique. For starters, it was long. It draped over the back of the chair. It was also cropped differently on the top. His bangs were longer and hung over his face. They reached to about his chin and all the hair kept that length. It formed one layer with the longer strands under it.
"Single layer with that length hair? Personally, a mullet like that is a fashion disaster. For him…Well, you're right about him being cute. He wears it well..."
The two girls softly giggled while all the men looked at each other in question. Todd walked up beside his sister. He glared contemptuously at the dozing Reno.
"Shut up, Vic."
Apparently he was still sore about last night. The others eyed him warily to make sure he did not try anything. But, before anybody could even think about doing anything, the door opened again and Tseng walked in. Everybody stood straight and saluted. Following behind was none other than the commander himself, Veld.
"Good morning, sir!"
They all saluted and practically held their breaths. This was the moment they had been waiting for.
The commander stood more impressively than Tseng. He was a legend among Turks and the prime model all of them strove to be. He looked each of them in the eye before speaking.
"Congratulations. Upon success of your mission, you are now officially Turks. And as such, the next step is determining your partner. Any questions?"
"I have one, sir."
Trista raised her arm politely. Veld turned his attention towards the young woman.
"We were informed that a Turk would be around in case of assistance, but there wasn't one."
"Ah yes. Last night was a bit of a surprise for us. Tseng?"
The Wutaiain man cleared his throat.
"It would appear there was an information leak. It is something we are working on and a good chance you will be working on it as well. As for the Turk assigned to you…"
Tseng and Veld began to look around looking for something. When his gaze fell on Reno in the corner, he continued.
"Ah, there he is, sir."
The field leader pointed to the corner where the redhead was sleeping. Veld followed his line of vision and smirked.
"To be a Turk, one must be prepared at all times. Your response time and reactions need to be working even during sleep."
As he spoke, Tseng reached into his jacket pocket and pulled out a medium sized marble and aimed it at the sleeping redhead. Todd let out a small chuckle in anticipation. With impressive speed and accuracy, Tseng shot the marble at Reno's head.
They all expected to hear a marble whack against his head, but were more than surprised when something completely different occured.
Even though his back was facing them, Reno tilted his head to the side, dodging the marble, and then catching it as well. There was a collective gasp as they watched and finally realized something.
"Huh?…What the…What's with the marble?"
Reno seemed half awake as he began lazily examining it. As he did, he stood up and stretched.
"Thank you for joining us, Reno."
Tseng watched the redhead as he trundled over and rubbed the sleep from his eye.
"Sure…Hey, did ya throw this at me?"
He glanced sideways at Tseng who nodded his head once.
"Proving a point."
"Oh, you started?"
Reno finally seemed to acknowledge the other people's presence. Todd stared wide-eyed.
Rusty looked just as surprised and had a little less restraint.
"Holy crap, you're the professional?! You're already a Turk?!"
A huge smirk was plastered on Reno's face.
"You got it, yo."
A/N: So here's the final edited version. Going back through, I realized how poorly I wrote these beginning chapters. That is why I am on a mission to edit all the chapters. Not a whole lot changed, just rewrote some awkward sounding sentences, fixed some odd typos, and added a few more little details to make the narrative flow better. The only way I can console myself is that at least this means I've improved as I've written more of this story. Oh well, at least I'm improving and not getting worse. Anyways, hope those of you going back enjoy the less awkward version of the chapter while newcomers, I welcome you to my warped little world and hope you enjoyed reading!