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Journey to the Surface.

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Agent 8 is staring hard at the scene in front of her. She only needs to get the ball over the railing but this is her last try. She takes a second to steady her breathing and tightens the grip on her weapon.

“YO YOU GOT THIS 8!!!”

She doesn't jolt from the sudden interruption but she does waits for her hearts to calm down again.

“Hush I think she's trying to focus.”

8 gives one last look before she holds the trigger on the Splash-o-matic.

Nothing but direct hits! The ball goes flying towards the rail. 8 eases up on the trigger but the ball hits the corner of the railing and goes sailing into the abyss.

FUCK!

The clock was ticking as the agent raced towards the edge of the small platform. The agent heard the familiar sound of static start up as she rushed to vault over the railing. She gets halfway over when she hears a very familiar, very professional voice say,

TEST FA-

But it was too late the agent was already over the edge and was falling to her death.

When she respawns she can practically feel the disapproving gaze of CQ.

“You should not make a habit of ending yourself before the test has been called. It might lead to an accidental failure in the future.”

8 huffs, “Of course, begin the test again”. She stretched her limbs and tentacles to get rid of the post-respawn stiffness. Stupid ancient technology.

CQ started to make their way to the terminal to type in the authorization password.

………

…………...

8 took a glance, CQ wasn't even half way there yet. She wondered if it would be rude if she picked them up and carried them the rest of the way.

…………………

Fighting off the urge to do so, 8 was quickly starting to get impatient. Was the conductor doing this on purpose? Normally they would be waiting at the terminal ready for a retry. 8 crossed her arms, nothing but more obstacles and delays.

………………………..

CQ was almost there but then 8 heard a commotion on the train. CQ stopped in their tracks and turned around. 8 was sure she was gonna pop something.

A few seconds go by when the doors fly open and the Captain stumbles out the train.

Running on pure instinct, 8 lunges forward, catching the Captain and sets him on his feet.

“Hoho looks like the train is a lil unsteady, thanks for the save!”

The Captain grabbed his cane and adjusted his hat. His clothes were all rumpled and he had dried drool on his chin. Was he sleeping before?

…………………………….

“Uh…. did you need something?” 8 only wanted to beat the test why was this so hard?

“Did I need? ……OH RIGHT! Since you've been working hard I thought it'd be a good idea to take a break and get some food! Iso Padre says he knows a place! “

Wincing slightly at his loud words, 8 was sure this isn't his idea. “Worry not I am still occupied with this test, perhaps another time.”

“YO 8! YOU SHOULD TAKE A LIL BREAK. YOU DONT WANNA BE BURNIN YOURSELF OUT TOO SOON!!”

“Pearl! You don't need to yell I'm sure she can hear us fine.“

“The test will not be done by itself and agent 3 still needs to be located. The faster I do this the faster we leave this hell.”
There would be no distractions, 8 NEEDED to beat all of these tests. Once she passed the tests, she would go to the surface and…. live? Would that be a possibility? Is that allowed? Marina lives up on the surface and she says it's great, so why can't she go have a nice life too!
But there is also the lingering worry of… what if life on the surface is worse? Are they going to make her join the Squidbeak Splatoon? Maybe Marina could provide some insight.

8 looks towards the old man. He’s in another rap battle against Pearl. Now would be a great time to ask. 8 grabs her CQ-80 and whispers in octish.

“Marina, I’m gonna be up late doing tests, do you mind staying up too?”

“Sure, I don’t mind. We just finished a huge tournament so our nights are free.”

“Actually I think it would be better if our squid friends took a break.”

“A break?... OH! Yeah I get it. You probably have a lot of questions.”

"Yes, I don’t wanna be caught off guard when I get to the surface.”

“I’ll answer your questions only if you take a break every once in a while too."

“If that’s it, then deal.”

8 looks over at the Captain. The old man was hopping around and spitting more than raps. It seems the battle has heated up.

“IM AN OLD SCHOOL PLAYER, HATIN ALL NAYSAYERS.
KNOCKIN HEADS TOGETHER, LIKE A BIG NAME SLAYER!”

According to Pearl his 'flow' has been getting more and more 'smoother' but she says he’ll have to stick to the basics until he gets a feel for the more 'experimental' stuff. It honestly sounds like a bunch of seahorse shit to 8 but what does she know about music.

“I splat fools with my aero sprayer, line em up on a big conveyor.
All these haters aint got no prayer, girls love me cuz i make things ga-”

“PEARL!” The walkie-talkie crackles with static, startling everybody.

Marina clears her throat, “Do you really want to open that can of worms right now?” She sounds kinda...flustered? More questions for later.

The old man wipes off the sweat on his brow and taps his cane on the ground, “Oh hello 8 when did you get here?”

“You said Iso Padre knows something about a place?”

He puts a hand on his chin and squints his eyes, “I did?”

“Yeah! You were said talkin about that diner Iso Padre mentioned before we started rappin.”

“Well what are we waiting for! Let’s go!”

The Captain hobbles towards the train. 8 turns to leave when a voice causes her to look back.

“Your friends are right you know. I’ve seen a lot of people push themselves past their limit and suffer for it.”

CQ quickly catches up to 8 and gives her a little nod towards the train, “After you.”

8 nods in return and enters the train. She sees Iso Padre and the Captain chatting, they both wave when they notice her. She takes a seat across from them and looks out the window.

Hopefully she would get some answers soon.