Get Lucky, Gears

Chapter 1 - Prelude

"Yes, I win again!"

Konata Izumi raised her arms in victory. Next to her sat a less-estatic looking Kagami Hiiragi. Kagami put down her controller.

"Yeah, you've only been playing this game for ten hours every day for the last week, after all…" Kagami remarked.

"Wow, Kona-chan, you sure are good at this!" Next to Kagami sat her twin sister, Tsukasa. She smiled excitedly.

"Yeah, these shooting games are the best, I've been unbeatable online!" Konata bragged proudly. "'Course, the servers are kinda slow, since it's a foreign game, and at that it's kind of a niche one."

"A niche game, huh?" Kagami asked. "Yeah, I could see why, some of these enemies in the story mode seemed a bit strange… I mean, there's a fat guy, a fat guy with long hair, and a fat guy with long hair and tan skin…"

"Yeah, definitely not made for the mainstream…" Konata continued as Kagami handed over her controller to Tsukasa. "But if I imported one of those mainstream foreign shooters I'd feel like I was just jumping on the bandwagon, y'know?"

"That's okay if the games are fun though…" Tsukasa reasoned as she controlled her character. She suddenly gasped. "Ah! What happened? My character's dead, oh no!"

Konata chuckled. "It's called a headshot, Tsukasa, and it's an instant kill!"

"Oh, my poor little guy…" Tsukasa sadly said as Konata once again looked happy in victory.

"Sometimes I wish I could be part of something like this…." Konata thought aloud. "I mean, wouldn't it be so cool if you could be diving around, guns ablaze, taking out everything in your path, and standing victorious at the end?"

"Okay, you've always been a bit out there, but now you're just plain talking crazy." Kagami said, though the look on Konata's face indicated that this did nothing to hamper her enthusiasm. "You wouldn't do it for the same reason you wouldn't go challenging people to fights after playing a fighting game, the real thing's not fun like the game. In a street fight you could get your bones broken, in a real gun fight a single bullet could-"

"Come on, Tsukasa, this is co-op, take down the enemies!" Konata pleaded.

"I can't, those little ones are so cute, I wouldn't feel right shooting them!"

"They're just midgets, evil midgets! Fire away!"

"STOP IGNORING ME!" Kagami shouted.

Konata looked over. "Huh? You say something, Kagami?"

"Oh, never mind…"

"Damn, where is Baird with that APC? We've gotta get going…"

Marcus Fenix paced impatiently across an area that seemed to a barren wasteland. He stopped and looked down at a very large metal chest, marked 'COG' with literal cogs sculpted onto the design. "Damn Prescott and his orders, we could've taken out about a hundred grubs by now…"

Marcus felt a hand on his shoulder. "Hey man, that just means we gotta kill 'em twice as fast, right? Let's make it a race, whoooooo!"

Augustus "Cole Train" Cole was standing next to Marcus, a positive look on his face. Though this didn't remotely elicit a smile in Marcus, it did seem to soften his expression a bit.

"I'm just a little ticked off at Prescott's new little "decree" is all…" Marcus grumbled. "We can't even travel by foot like we're used to, because we gotta bring all this crap in case we find any able-bodied person to assist? Like any of the stranded we find are gonna willfully put on some armor, grab a gun and charge into the Locust army with us."

"Baird just radioed us though," Cole said. "He's pretty close, should only be a few minutes. You might wanna go check on Dom, though. He's still lookin' sad in there…"

Marcus let out a sigh. "Yeah, ever since Jacinto sunk and we didn't see battle for a few days, he's slowly started to slip away…"

"Can't blame 'im" Cole said, shaking his head. "Losing Maria like that, the fighting probably kept his mind off it, and killin' all them Locust probably gave him some relief, ya know, like he was killin' them for her. Now he's just sittin' there, thinkin' about it…"

"Yeah, he's dealt with a lot, and that's saying a lot with everything our soldiers have lost…" Marcus said. He turned and walked off.

After a few seconds, he stopped as he saw his best friend and fellow Gear, Dominic Santiago, sitting on the floor. His face now had quite a bit of facial hair, forming a rather thick beard on his face. He looked forlorn, just staring out into space.

"Dom, you alright?" Marcus asked, sitting down on the ground beside him.

"What do you think?" Dom asked, still not looking over at Marcus, his eyes still affixed on the empty, early night sky.

"Sorry," Marcus said.

Dom let out a sigh. "S'alright. Just… the more I think about it, the more it gets to me… I want to kill every last one of those sons of bitches… but I know it won't bring her back…"

Marcus looked at his saddened friend, not saying much. There was a sudden beep. Marcus reached for a radio at his side and brought it to his face. "Fenix, here."

"Hey, Marcus, it's Baird." The voice on the other end came. "I've got the APC and I'm right around the corner, you got everything we need to load into it?"

"Yeah… unfortunately…" Marcus bitterly griped. He stood up. "You gonna come? I'd understand if you don't want to."

"Nah, I'm coming." Dom reached a few inches over and grabbed his Lancer Assault Rifle and stood up. "I'm not missing this chance."

"Yeah, baby!" Cole suddenly exclaimed, putting an arm on each of his teammates' shoulders. A bright light shined on them, signaling the arrival of a large vehicle. "Let's get it goin'!"

Konata, Kagami and Tsukasa were headed out of the front door of the Izumi residence.

"Konata, did you even listen to anything I said?" Kagami asked as Konata reached for the door.

"Oh, you mean about which end of the chocolate coronet was the head and which one was the tail?" Konata asked. "I thought we agreed to disagree."

"That was almost two years ago!" Kagami exclaimed angrily.

"Konata, where are you headed off to?" A man's voice called from inside the house.

"We're meeting up with Miyuki for lunch, dad." Konata replied.

"Bring me back some chocolate coronets, alright?" His voice called.

Tsukasa chuckled a little. "Your dad never misses a conversation about food?"

"Personally, I don't think he heard us." Konata replied as Tsukasa was the last one out and shut the door. They stopped walking, Konata standing there, looking as if she was thinking hard. "I think we have a special father-daughter telepathic connection, when I think something, a similar thought pops into his head, and vice-versa. It must be why whenever I want to play one of his dating sims, he's already on it."

"You know, it always did seem like you and your dad has a special connection…" Tsukasa pondered as the three started walking. "I think my older sisters have the same connection, except they know when I leave my desserts alone and then they steal the cherry or strawberry on top."

"I don't think that's a connection, Tsukasa," Konata replied. "I think that's just your older sisters wanting some of your dessert."

Tsukasa smiled. "Well, I guess that might be right…"

"Good afternoon, everyone"

Standing in front of them was their classmate, Miyuki Takara. She smiled as she adjusted her glasses.

"Hey, Yuki-Chan!" Tsukasa greeted her.

"Hey, Miyuki." Kagami said. "You look a little worn out."

"Oh, yes…" Miyuki suddenly looked embarrassed, her face blushing a bit. "I was ready to leave, but then before I left the house I tripped and dropped the plates from my breakfast when I went to go put them in the dishwasher… and the worst part is, I didn't want the curry from two days before to go to waste, so I had it with my breakfast… the mess was terrible…"

"Whoa, curry for breakfast?" Konata said, suddenly perking up. "That sounds like something my dad would come up with!"

"Yes, I know it's unusual…." Miyuki continued. "Anyway, that made me late, and I had to catch a later train, and I had to walk as fast as I could to get here."

"You didn't have to rush for us, Miyuki." Kagami said.

"But I would've felt terrible if I made you all late for lunch." Miyuki replied. "I know that you've all been waiting, and you must be hu-" She was suddenly interrupted by the loud sound of a growling stomach. She turned red again as she realized it was her own. "Oh, my, excuse me!"

"Looks like Yuki-chan's hungry." Konata commented through a smirk.

Marcus, Cole and Dom now sat inside of the large vehicle. In the front seat sat Damon Baird, steering the vehicle.

"So, Marcus." Baird began, "What this bull-crap that Prescott's pushing on us?"

"He made this new decree that with our numbers being reduced, we have to get every able-bodied man, woman and child that's willing to join us into the force." He responded. "Now we can't even go on foot like usual, because we gotta lug all this armor and weaponry to give to everyone who's willing to help, which I'd bet is gonna be no one…" And of course, we're the first ones they're giving the job to, because of all our experience… we're the guinea pigs."

"Good to know they're rewarding us for all of our hard work." Baird quipped from up front.

"We don't have any other missions besides that, and the usual orders to kill all of the Locust we come across…"

"Heh heh, that part sounds pretty good to me." Chuckled Cole. "Least we ain't in an old Derrick that's gonna get cut in half, again."

"Speaking of oil derricks…" Marcus reached for a radio. "Dizzy, come in, you there?"

"Yeah, I'm here." The Southern-accented voice of Dizzy came through the radio.

"How's your recruitment of the stranded going?"

"Ain't goin' too good, I'll tell ya… I don't know why those idiots thought they were gonna listen to me, they ain't gonna wanna join us for nothin'… I might as well walk up to 'em with my thumb up my ass and then offer 'em a handshake!"

"Thanks for that visual." Baird remarked while leaning in towards the radio.

As they continued driving along, a white, goggle-wearing creature stared at them from a distance away. "Hoooosstiiiiiles…" It hissed in a monster-like voice.

Dizzy continued through the radio. "Anyway, I'm gonna see If I can't find the wife and kids, and if I don't have any luck, I'm going straight back to the new Jacinto place, whatever they're callin' it now"

"Best of luck to you, Dizzy." Marcus replied.

The APC suddenly began to rock wildly.

"What in the world?" Baird said.

Marcus peered out the window. "Looks like we've got company…"

There were several Locust drones lined up, aiming their assault rifles and pistols, firing away at the APC. The APC began to move around, smoke now rising from where the engine was.

Baird slammed on the brakes. "Alright, looks like we've got some work to do."

"Yeah, baby!" Cole reached into his holster for a Snub Pistol.

Marcus turned around. "Hey, Dom, are you good to-" He stopped as he realized Dom wasn't there. "Dom?"

Dom was already charging into the battlefield, his Gnasher shotgun drawn. He charged straight at the Locust drones, seemingly ignoring all the assault rifle rounds that were hitting him. Dom reached the front lines and lifted his shotgun, blasting one of the drones to pieces with ease. He turned and smacked another in the head with the weapon, then did a second time, dropping the drone to its knees. Another drone came rushing in, its revolver-like Boltok Pistol drawn. Dom turned and fired the shotgun, destroying its head with the single shot. He turned back to the Locust he had attacked with melee strikes, and raised his foot, bringing it down on the Locust, smashing it to the ground with a sickening crunch.

Marcus, Baird and Cole were in awe of Dom single-handedly demolishing the herd of drones.

A rumbling began in the ground, and a hole opened a few feet away from where Dom was battling the Locust. Several more crawled out, these fairly bigger and with a more rugged looking skin, either with armor or bare-chested.

"Looks like the stronger ones just got delayed a bit…" Marcus picked up his Lancer. "Let's get in there!"

Marcus, Baird and Cole charged in with their guns, battling the Locust as they had so many times before.

Meanwhile, a fair bit away, the Locust Hollow was buzzing.

A long line of Locust was walking double file. These were the Kantus, dressed in clothes that resembled robes, a lack of boots and a distinct looking helmet.

They filed into a large room and stood, there, all looking in the same direction.

"You have arrived, as I have asked…"

At the front of the room walked the more human-like, yet bizarre looking Queen Myrrah. A concerned expression on her humanoid face, she paced back and forth. "Skorge… is dead."

The Kantus immediately began to chatter in their hissing voices.

"Skorge was killed by the same group of humans that dared to enter the Hollow, without fear, without concern of what would happen to them. Those humans will be the ones who suffer the most, when the war is finally brought to the end. Now, my Kantus, I brought you all here for one reason: to pray. Fourteen years ago, the Kantus sect prayed for what we deserved, and we got what we wanted: It was Emergence Day, and soon after, we had the Riftworm. So now, I ask all Kantus to pray, to pray for something that will surely lead this war to its conclusion, something that will light the fire of those who will be victorious to bring swift end to the enemy. It is through your prayer that the humans will finally be extinguished… for good."

The room full of Kantus immediately dropped to one knee each. The began to emit a hissing chant, all in eerie unison. The row of Kantus in the front stood up and each reached to their side, producing a grenade. They each planted it into the floor, and at the same team, the grenades exploded, sending Ink all over the place.

The eerie chanting continued for several more minutes. Then, one by one, they stood up, each emitting a horrible screech, one after the other.

The Queen looked upon her clergy, a stoic look remaining on her face. "This war is as good as done… thank you, my Kantus."

"Hey, Konata." Kagami suddenly said among the group now sitting at a restaurant table. "How come you didn't point out that Miyuki tripping and dropping her dishes was part of her moe appeal like usual?"

Konata let out a huge gasp. "Oh my gosh! You're right!" She exclaimed dramatically. "I'm slipping! Nooooo!" She dropped the side of her head down onto the table.

"Uh… okay…" Kagami said, Tsukasa and Miyuki giggling through it.

The group now stood up, having finished their lunch.

"Hey, sis," Tsukasa began as they all headed for the door. "What was it you were saying to Kona-chan back when we were at her house?"

"Mm…." Kagami muttered. "Are you gonna listen this time?"

"Yeah, sure, why not?" Konata asked casually.

"Alright, alright… well, when you were playing that shooting game of yours, you were saying how cool you thought it would be to be involved in a real scenario like that. But in something like that, your life is on the line."

"Well, I guess you're right about that…" Konata replied. "But come on, Kagami, every gamer thinks about how cool it would be if they were the one on the screen fighting, you know? It didn't really mean I wanna be on a battlefield in a life-or-death fight.."

"There is always games like that, like paintball." Miyuki said. "My family has done it two years in a row. Except the first time I didn't really know how to work the gun and I got eliminated in the first couple of minutes…"

"That's our Yuki-chan!" Konata chuckled. "But there are games I would like to actually do… I mean, imagine the four of us running in with giant swords, fighting against huge dragons, and collecting our prizes at the end?"

"Now you lost me again." Said Kagami.

"Hey, what is that?" Tsukasa interrupted.

The girls looked up to see a cloud of black, purple and green seemingly coming up from the ground.

"Is it just me, or does it seem like we're the only ones who notice it?" Konata asked. And indeed, many people were just walking by it, and no one in the general area was looking at it. "Let's take a closer look."

"This feels kinda weird, I'm not sure we should…" Tsukasa fretted as Konata walked fearlessly towards the strange sight. Kagami and Miyuki were reluctantly following. "H-hey! Wait for me!"

Konata walked up to it. "Whoa, weir-" She began coughing heavily. "Oh, what is that?"

"Are you alright, Konata?" Miyuki asked as she, Kagami and Tsukasa hurried to catch up with her. They too, began to cough as well. The strange colored smoke suddenly began to expand with a loud whooshing sound, covering the four girls.

"Wha-what the?" Konata gasped. The four now looked absolutely terrified, unsure of what was going on.

The cloud enveloped them completely as it expanded. The girls screamed, but still, not a single person even glanced over. The cloud enveloped the four of them…

And they were gone.

Konata opened her eyes, having had them clenched tightly previously. She looked around and saw only a wasteland, scorched earth and no plant life whatsoever. She looked up at the bleak-looking sky. "What… what just happened?"

"That weird smoke just covered us and then I don't know what happened next…" Kagami rubbed her eyes. "At least we stopped coughing…"

The four got back to their feet, all of them now wearing uneasy expressions on their faces.

Tsukasa suddenly looked much more nervous. "Um… does anyone else hear anything?"

There were a few loud thuds. The group slowly turned around to look directly behind them.

There, only a few feet away, stood a Locust Grenadier. It was holding a Hammerburst Assault Rifle in its hands, its cold eyes locked onto the four girls.

"Ahhhhhhh!" Tsukasa and Miyuki screamed at the top of their lungs, shaking uncontrollably. Konata and Kagami just stared, apparently too afraid to scream.

The Grenadier stomped towards them. "Freeeesh meeeeeat…"