An Unusual First Day on the Job

The House Fighters’ entrance was small and unpronounced, to the point that Psiksi would have missed it if it wasn’t for the fact that there were several other beings already waiting outside.

Feeling nervous, Psiksi decided to hang around the back. He was early. Half an hour early. Probably for the best because the instructions he’d been given to get there weren’t exactly very good. The other beings all looked fairly happy and comfortable. It was a well-known fact that the best House Fighters got paid a lot of money, partially because they were genuinely skilled warriors, but mainly because it was incentive for them to remain as House Fighters and not become challengers. After all, the rarely-claimed prizes from challenger tournaments were enough to semi-retire on.

Psiksi though had no intention of ever retiring. He thrived on combat, no matter how much he’d previously not wanted to admit it. Yes, the time off he’d had over the holidays was wonderful but the gnawing feeling of nothingness was bothering him. Plus this was a job Psiksi could potentially be good at.

The door finally opened, and the larger House Fighters all stepped in. Psiksi noted the various species. Five Thanatians, seven Vrekans, two Rethans (both standard-types and much taller than Psiksi) and a Cassid.

Inside, a heavily armoured Thanatian was waiting for them. Their armour was covered in gold and silver scales, and they wore a helmet that completely obscured their face. Psiksi wondered how they saw out of it, but they probably had a camera with an internal screen showing them everything.

“Ah good. You are all on time. Next group arrives in two hours. Get your armour and head out to the training court. Do your warm ups. I will be with you in half an hour to arrange rosters, assign jobs. New vok, come with me.”

Psiksi gulped and did as he was told. The Thanatian led him down a side passage, which opened up into a large armoury.

“What’s your name?” Psiksi asked as they walked up and down each row of armour and weapons. He wanted to ask a lot of questions, but decided to start off simple.

“You call me House Leader or Boss for now.”

“Yes, ser…”

Suddenly, the House Leader stopped. He was inspecting a set of armour with what almost looked like glass plates. He glanced at Psiksi, then took the armour down.

“This should fit you. Try it on.”

Again, Psiksi did as he was told. It took him a second to work out how all the armour came together, but once it was on, Psiksi was amazed at how light it felt. He also noticed that the armour had some built in sensors, as well as a small monitor on his left wrist, showing a health meter of some sort.

“That should do you for now. You’re a telkin. I assume you will be using your abilities to shield most damage anyway. The armour is mainly to protect you from projectiles and shrapnel. Rather than direct hits.”

The House Leader wandered off again. Psiksi adjusted his armour, then swiftly followed him towards a huge weapon rack. There was a huge choice of weapons, from daggers and swords to flails and maces, to traditional Rethan, Vrekan and Thanatian weapons, such as gun-staffs, bullet tonfas and thorned whips. Psiksi wondered if he had any choice in the matter, but his question was quickly answered as the House Leader picked out a spear and shield and handed them to him.

“Self-defence and range. Should do.”

Again, the House Leader wandered off, back the way they came. They then headed down a path that forked. One path led to the training courts, the other led to another empty area, also potentially used for training.

As they entered, Psiksi noticed that the walls were dull and padded. There were cameras in every corner, and on the two walls adjacent to the entrance, there were what looked like holographic projectors.

The House Leader stood Psiksi in the middle of the room, then left, locking the door behind him.

“Fight until your AHM runs out.”

“My AHM?”

“You have one hundred health.”

Psiksi glanced down at his wristband. He thought it was called a PHAM, not an AHM. But Psiksi didn’t have much time to ask questions, as holographic Thanatians started to appear from the two projectors.

Suddenly, they all started to attack. Psiksi immediately defended himself, stabbing each attacker with his spear while holding off blows with his shield. Unfortunately, the more he killed, the more that spawned, so he changed his tactics to dance around them, keeping out of their range and letting them take each other out.

At first, this tactic worked. But at the ten minute mark, more holograms started spawning on their own. At first, it wasn’t too bad, but Psiksi quickly found himself being overwhelmed. Holograms, it turned out, weren’t really effected by telekinesis or telepathy. Psiksi had tried to figure out of he could turn off the projectors, but with so many enemies around, he didn’t have the chance.

Something beeped.

The holograms faded away.

Psiksi panted, utterly exhausted.

“Good job!” a voice shouted through a speaker. A voice that didn’t belong to the House Leader. “You have exceeded my expectations! Have a quick nap and someone will be down to collect you shortly!”

Psiksi sighed, then sat down on the ground, unsure what was going to happen next.