"Laaaaadies and gentlemen! In just a few short minutes the Battle Surge XVII will begin! Tonight, here in the Windy City of Chicago, teams from all across the midwest have come to test their skills. The eight best teams in the midwest will fight to take the regional title! What ever team wins will advance to the national championships! People of Chicago let me hear you CHEER!" _______________________________________________________________________________________ Oliver stood at the window facing the arena. He looked at the arena, mentally planning strategies. As the teams strategist, he had to have pre-made strategies. Defensive positions, offensive maneuvers, faints, sleight of hand, and trick plays. He knew them all. At any given moment he could make a call and his team would follow through with deadly precision. They had rehearsed the plays countless times. For the prelims they come up with new tactics and plays. Some innovated and risky, others plain but reliable. But....the true strength of the team was their ability to adapt and improvise. He had only known the team for a short while, but in that time they had become very important him. Like family. Though he didn't show it, he genuinely cared for them. Each person on the team had such stark personalities. Some times it was mystery to him how they could function as a team. They were all independent for the most part. Out side of the arena people might think that some of them hated each other. To some degree, they may be right. But in the game, in the fray....they were unified. Like a well oiled machine they performed like it was as natural as breathing. In the fight, at least to Oliver, they were family. And family was all Oliver had. Two years ago his parents died leaving him to take care of his eight year old sister Sarina. There is nothing Oliver wouldn't do for his sister. Nothing. He lived his life to provide for her. In fact, if it wasn't for the money they could win in the championship, he wouldn't be there. No stranger to combat, Oliver could make a easy money as a bouncer, personal security, police, or even the military. But the pay off for wining regional, or even national, was huge. It would be enough to put her through school for a year. He needed that money. Bad. Oliver shook his head. He couldn't focus on that now. He had to get his head in the game. Walking away from the window he walked over to his Cryo Carbine and checked all the parts. Everything was fine. Nothing was out of place. He then checked his retractable shield. It was old, but sturdy. Satisfied with his equipment he turned and faced his team. "You guys ready?" He asked, looking intently at his team. ____________________________________________________________________________ Drey was in his element. Pour latte art, brewing good coffee and pulling good espresso shots. His smile on his face was as genuine as could be. But more then that, he was pumped because his bro, Oliver, was playing today. Oliver, didn't know, but Drey had placed several substantial bets on his team winning. Drey was confident and not with out good cause. Olivers team was good. Really Good. The would win Drey knew. "Can I have a cappuccino please?" asked a customer. "Absolutely" Drey said loudly. Almost to loudly. He pulled the shot then steamed the milk. After that he poured a sun design into the customers Capp'. He handed it to her with a smile. "Enjoy" "Drey! Would you go on break already? Sheesh." said his manager Bryant. "You are gonna work yourself to death boy! Take 15 minutes." "OOOOOoookay boss! As you wish!" Drey came out from behind the counter with a cup of black iced coffee and sat at an empty table. He leaned back in his chair and stretched. But he stretched so far he over balanced and fell out of his chair. Hitting the floor with a loud crash.