There isn't much I remember. I don't remember my childhood, my parent's faces, if I had any friends or siblings. The reason why I don't remember any of this is because I never had any of it, friends, family or a childhood, was created and grown in a laboratory... in a tank...
I remember being shocked to test my reflexes, cut to test how well I healed. Wires patched to my chest and forehead. Hoses down my throat to feed me and to allow me to breath. I was an experiment to them... nothing more than a resource to them... an asset. The machines taught me things, taught me how to fight, how to adapt and survive... something that would prove to be their undoing.
I quietly plotted my escape as I was suspended in that God forsaken tube... I needed to get out... I needed to get free... and nothing would stop me.
"Doctor Orlan!" a researcher cried out, panic coloring his voice. "The system is malfunctioning! The subject is waking up!"
The doctor ran to the console. He started rapidly typing in commands, however the system kept flashing the same error message with each attempt. It was apparent to Orlan they would not be able to keep things under control much longer. "Prepare to flash freeze! We can't let him wake up he's not ready!"
"The system isn't responding!" the assistant shot back, feverishly typing away tying to get the systems online again, "Nitrogen systems not responding! The subject's heart rate is spiking! He's...." a loud thud came from the tube. "Oh God..." she whispered fearfully as another even harder thud rocked the tube, a series of star-shaped cracks began forming in the glass. "He's awake!"
The next strike shattered the tube entirely. Bio-gel splattered all over the floor as the alarm began blaring. "Security breach, Laboratory four, all security personal assist immediately!" The tank's former occupant was barely visible, he lifted himself up by the bar on the top of the tank and threw his legs into the glass. The first attempted loosened the plate glass face, the subject repeated his action again with much more force snapping the restraints and launching the glass panel into the consol in front of it, the unfortunate woman behind the consol was cut to ribbons when the glass shattered all over her.
The subject dropped from the tank, pulling the tubes out of his slender muzzle. That was followed by several hacking coughs before he ripped the wires off of his head and chest pulling some of his dense bristly light gray-white fur with it. He gave his wings a few solid flicks to get the remains of the bio-gel off their membranes before contracting them tightly behind him. His short fur was soaked to the point to where his black shorts clung uncomfortably to his body, his breathing was deep and low as he breathed in the atmosphere of the lab for the first time unassisted, his blood red eyes opening and leveling his sight on the doctor who was trying to get the glass security door open to no avail and advanced on him.
His first steps were almost uncoordinated, after the first few steps he fell to the lab's sterile floor, almost landing on the shattered glass, but he adapted as he was designed to do. Getting up his pathetic stumbles evolving into a steady stride with in the space of a few steps.
Orlan turned and faced him, pissing his pants as he feared the worst, "Cypher please don't do this... you can't kill me, I created you!" Cypher just grabbed him by his throat. He uttered out a single word, pressing one of his curved claws in to helpless researcher's neck.
"It was by our Lord Omega's command..." The researcher tried to speak between strangled breaths, which only it only got harder to breath as Cypher squeezed the aging chupadore tighter.
"Then go join him..." Cypher released Orlan, took a step back and suddenly lashed out with a vicious to kick to the chupa's chest launching him into the glass door, shattering it allowing Cypher to leave. He heard the patting of feet and the rattling of weapons heading down the hallway toward him.
But the problem was the moment he stepped out of the lab, his eyesight failed. He could see in the well-lit confines of the lab, but he couldn't see down the dim hallway.
Quickly looking around, he could find no obvious places to hide, but when he looked up he noticed the shadows on the ceilings that were caused by the lack of light in the facility's corridors. The hanging florescent lights threw out a harsh glare, but he couldn't see above them. He backtracked into the lab and looked for someplace to hide, he eventually found an open ventilation duct just above the door. Making use of his claws he worked his way up the wall. He tore off the duct cover, crawling inside to wait for security.
The House Omega Team arrived in a group of five, moving in a staggered line covering each other just as they had been trained. One stayed behind to watch the rear, ensuring nobody approached the lab. Each team member sported an M7 SMG, and the squad leader was easily identified by the choice of weapon, an M90 Shotgun. The squad leader kneeled down to check for the doctor's pulse. "He's dead... what the hell happened in here?"
"His assistant's dead too." another guard reported, "Whatever they were doing in here killed them...
The leader continued inspected the doctor's body, "It would have taken a grenade to shatter this door... or a heavy enough projectile... Call it in."
"Sir..." the second guard acknowledged, "Security team Echo checking in. Two dead, no sign of the subject."
"What the hell were they doing in here?"
"No idea, I'm not paid to ask questions."
"Wha-shit?" The second guard stiffened bringing his weapon up aiming back down the corridor, "Our rear guard just flat-lined!" The rest of the squad trained their weapons down the dim hallway.
"Johannas! Status!" the squad leader called out, "Corporal!" the only response was a lit flashlight slowly rolling to the middle of the hall.
Fear started to sink in to the rest of the squad, "I've got a bad feeling about this..." they started to spread out a little more opening themselves up to whatever was stalking them. The squad leader was the furthest away from the lab now. A deep growl resonated though the hallway vents, "What the fuck was that!?" one guards hissed. Nobody even noticed Cypher exit the vent just outside the laboratory door.
"I don't know... I think we should RAAGH!" the guard nearest the door yelled out as Cypher's left claw plunged into the unlucky male's lightly armored back and latched on, while his right one grabbed the guard's magnum. Two of the guards went down quick via headshots. Neither of even had a chance to turn around. As a result, the weapon jammed. The rapid discharges at such a close range and in such a confined space caused a ringing sensation with his acute hearing.
The squad leader turned around just leveling his shotgun at his helpless subordinate and fired. The spray of eight gauge buckshot struck the guard square in the chest, putting him out of his misery. The shotgun clicked, giving Cypher a brief window to act.
Cypher extracted his claw from the dead man's wound and threw the body at the remaining guard, who popped of another shot in alarm. The flying meat shield was enough for Cypher to rush in and tackle him before he could get another shot off. The shotgun clattered a few feet down the hall.
"Get off me you mutant sonnovabitch!!" The man roared as he threw a solid punch to the side of Cypher's head, knocking him off of him before he scrambled for his weapon. Cypher recovered and grabbed the guard by the legs and pulled him back. The guard in response grabbed his magnum. He snapped a shot off, catching his assailant in the arm.
Barely flinching-more from the sound then the flash of pain in his arm, Cypher swiftly kicked the weapon away before repeatedly stomping on the Chupa's chest. After about the third hit the guard caught it, twisting his lower body to catch the escaped subject's leg. He rolled bringing him down hard. As soon as the subject was down the squad leader pulled him in a chokehold in order to subdue him.
Cypher pried the man's grip loose and slammed the back of his head into man's snout. The guard let go in order to protect his wounded snout. Cypher came around with a right cross. The force of the punch spun the guard around, whiel a swift kick to the back of the leg dropped him to his knees. He finally grabbed the guard's head and savagely twisted it. The snap of the neck signaling the end of the struggle.
Taking a brief moment to take in what had just transpired. He let the body drop to the ground. He knelt down to pick up one of the discarded handguns. He then notices a security camera. Cypher smirked, taking aim at it. "Let me prove my point." He growled, and pulled the trigger.
Two weeks later. Freelancer Mobile command center. Lactan fifty miles from the Timae boarder.
A pair of figures stood in front of the desk watching the holo-screen featuring the incident, one was a male with light gray fur and a blond mane wearing green shorts, gray shirt and an even lighter gray jacket. The other was a dark gray and white chested female with red hair, wearing a black vest over a red tank top along with black shorts.
"This footage is two weeks old Wash." The female commented.
"Yea but its still relevant." Washington explained flipping over the various reports, "He's killed twenty seven people, destroyed a section of the security wall, stolen a unarmed hog as well as a handful of weapons." His claw gently flipped to the next report which had a few pictures of a burning base with several butchered soldiers, "Last week he raided a Red Army supply depot, stealing a set of heavily modified Mark V-b armor from the armory then leveled the entire complex with strategically placed remote demolitions. He's steering clear of the cities and settlements, so eliminating the risk of collateral damage is obviously a high priority to him. Not too many people have to skill to keep a CD count in the zeros, Tex. Even you."
"Ok so he's a specialist with a pension for being subtle..." Tex's comment was cut off by Wash's questioning glare, "Well as subtle as you can be with explosives and severe anger management issues. Lets not revisit the oil refinery incident please...."
"Fine... as long as you keep admitting that was your fault." Wash let his look soften as he turned back to the screen, "The V-b is a more... modular version of the Mk V. They tried fielding sixes but it got so expensive to do so quickly. It's typically reserved for special ops now because of budget cuts... So everybody on both sides is getting the b models until production picks up for the VIs"
"So, he has a jeep, ton of munitions and a suit of modified combat armor... am I still missing something here?" Tex asked in a level tone trying to keep from slapping the back of her fellow Freelancer's head.
"The suit is apparently equipped with a prototype helmet, some kind up armored optical sensor suite or something like that. It's why they reported it stolen."
"Oh..." she deadpanned.
"The Director wants the equipment and the subject recovered intact if possible." Wash reiterated command's directives.
"Ok so what's the play here? Solo op or full force deployment?"
"Neither." the Freelancer agent answered, "We're going in as two teams of four; You, Wyoming, North, South, Carolina, York, Tennessee and myself."
"Wait Tennessee? We're bringing the Rookie?" Tex questioned incredulously, "She's only been with the division a few months! Is she ready for a job like this, why not Maine or Illinois?"
"Because agent Tennessee has yet to see any action, this mission is as good as any." Washington's words were firm and held no room for argument, "Not to mention Maine and Illinois are currently on assignment and pulling them back would be impractical."
From the way she understood things, Tex obviously didn't have a choice it was going to happen one way or the other, "Fine... she better not get in my way."
"Good, tell the others to gear up. We'll be heading off in thirty."
"Alright." Turning to walk out of the command trailer, she paused just short of the door, "Do we at least know where on Sirca this son of a bitch is?"
"Timae... near the Jenay river."
"Fuck..." was the only thing she said as she walked out to get ready.
"Figured that get your attention." Wash mused with a sly smirk which quickly faded when the door slid closed.
Once he was alone he brought back up the mission brief again.
We have tasked you with an operation that is of the utmost importance. You are tasked with hunting down and retrieving a rogue level zero asset. It escaped the genetics facility two weeks ago after causing significant losses in personal and operations.
His designation is Cypher. He is a first generation Draco class Omega Variant.
When he escaped he was essentially crippled by night blindness, he could only travel by day... however considering the... uniqueness of this particular breed, he is capable of independent flight meaning that the distance he could covered could be substantial and could have been anywhere on Sicra. Last week we got our first sighting when he single-handedly raided and destroyed a Red Army supply depot housing a suit of modified Mark V-[b] armor equipped along with a prototype helmet with an optical enhancement package... This removes his handicap as a factor and thus fore increases his combat effectiveness and overall lethality. This is an unacceptable development.
As a failsafe, the Reds rigged a tracking card to the armor and it was last reported active in the Timae region.
We don't have to tell you what the consequences are if Lady Myshu catches wind of this operation-if she hasn‘t already. As fair as she is... she won't let such grievous oversight on the part of the Genetics and Freelancer divisions go unnoticed or unanswered, especially after Cypher butchered a H.A.D.E.S team during his escape, and she will seek to launch an investigation and possibly impose a punishment of her own. The Director wants to avoid this outcome at all costs so discretion is a must to contain this situation.
Your objectives are: To locate and disable the subject. Return the armor to Omegrad and returning the subject back to the facility alive.
Be advised, the subject's full potential is still unknown, so expect anything, within reason. You are however being assigned two UH-144A Falcon VTOLs instead of your usual Pelican. They should prove to be more nimble in the event of either interference or a flight situation.
You're team is on a need to know basis... should the situation become... unstable. You are authorized to inform them of the detailed specifics of the mission and it's objective.
Best of luck to you and your team Agent Washington.
"Worst mission ever... of all time"
Ch. 2 Peace, Colorblind Hatred and Rabbit Stew.
The canyons of Timae were beautiful in their own way, remote, quiet and peaceful. The clean running waters of the Jenay river runs though one such canyon surrounded by lush jungles and arid plateau. One could live here in solitude if it were not for the war.
Ownership of the territory is in dispute, and the canyon the site of rather sluggishly paced battle. Though in reality the only war the occupants of this canyon were concerned with was boredom. These soldiers being the slackers, rejects, and overall bottom of the barrel of both the Red and Blue armies were posted here, with little to no expectation of success.
On this day, the lives of these obviously unwanted soldiers were about to change. Things were about to get exciting.
“GIVE HIM BACK!” a voice split the calm silence of the canyon.
The response was quick and blunt, “Not until you give me back my tools!”
“Yea! Sarge will have you’re little bunny buddy for lunch if you don’t give them back.”
It was a near typical day between the two opposing squads, whether it be hurling bullets or insults at each other (mostly the latter) the Reds and Blues never got along even as professional soldiers. Even though the reds out numbered them by one. The battle for the canyon was “Officially” at a stalemate, because neither side was capable of beating the other… or more accurately because they didn’t want to.
The Reds,(technically, a red, a maroon, a light red and an tubby orange) just stood there with either with their arms crossed, a smug look being fascinated with their nails or in Sarge’s case rattling the cage that contained the poor rabbit.
The three Blues just stood on the roof of their base, two of them shooting harsh glares at the Reds while the third was pleading with their team leader.
“Church! Tucker! We have to help bunnylops!” the owner of the original voice said almost quivering, “We can’t let them eat him like a cookie!”
“Ok that’s honestly a dick move even for you guys…” The aqua blue Chupadore shot at the Reds, “I though you were better than that Simmons.”
The tubby orange Chupa sneered, “After how many times Fenrir there kicked our asses? How is that a dick move Tucker? Church can go hulk beat the hell out of us be he can‘t even shoot straight!”
“Fuck you, Grif!” the taller of the blues spat angrily. Tighten his grip on his rifle he seriously thought about trying to take a shot with his rifle but decided against it. As much as he disliked Caboose, he wasn’t going to be responsible for an errant anti-material sabot turning the dark blue chupa’s pet into instant rabbit stew. “Hey at least I’ve gotten laid sometime in my pathetic life.”
Grif was furious he started to walk forward, “Why don’t you come down here and say that to my face you chic…” he was about to said ‘chicken’ when Sarge bashed him upside the head with the steel cage.
“BUNNYLOPS!” Caboose wailed
“OW! What the hell!” the orange chupa turned to see his comrade’s faces, Sarge was angry but he was always angry. Simmons was nervous because of what Grif almost said, and Donut the rookie of the squad was terrified.
“Shut up you idiot!”
“Yea can’t you see he was baiting you dumbass!?”
“Are you trying to switch him on and make him hurt everybody?”
Sarge turned back to face the Blues, “You’ve got until nightfall to bring me back my tools! Or me and the boys are going to enjoy some rabbit stew night HA HA!” Turning around and leaving, with the dented cage in hand the Reds marched off back to their own base on the other end of the canyon.
“What a bunch of asshats…” Tucker sighed in annoyance as he rubbed his brow, “I can’t believe that orange idiot tried to get you to turn.”
Church just threw a concerned glance at his friend, “Yea I know, its about the stupidest thing he could have done.”
“How is that coming by the way?”
“Still working out friend from foe, focusing on scents and sounds.” The taller chupa shrugged, “Still a long way from full control though.” being a werewolf wasn’t something he was proud, but he was somewhat adamant about gaining some form of control over his curse to even have a little normalcy in his life-if that was even possible.
“Well sooner you get a handle on it the…” Tucker paused mid sentence and looked around to notice that there was only two of them up on that roof right that moment. “Where’s Caboose?”
Church though was the first to notice, he just didn’t say or do anything to stop it, “Ran off to the woods as were talking. At least he’s not here to get in the way.” he didn’t even spare a glance to the woods as he turned to the ramp.
Royally confused by the last statement Tucker decides to follow him, “What do you intend on doing?”
“I’m going to get that damn rabbit back.
Tucker groaned, “Shit man… that means a plan… I HATE plans.”
“Look its simple. Wait until dusk sneak in grab the rabbit and get out.” Church firmly explains, “And without Caboose around to fuck it up it really can’t go wrong.”
“So… we wait until dark and wing it?”
“Ok, I like that plan… what can go wrong?” Tucker snarked.
“Just shut up and follow me wiseass.” Church snapped back, “Besides, I can’t stand Caboose now as it is. Last thing I need is to deal with him being all sad and mopey.”
Two weeks, It had been two weeks since Cypher had escaped from that laboratory. Since then he’d taken shelter in a cave hidden in the woods of a remote boxed canyon. The cave was large enough to hide a garage large enough to service a tank.
Since his escape, he had stolen one of the lab’s security warthogs with an assortment of small arms. Then a week after he raided a Red Army supply depot acquiring a suit of combat armor. When he found the cave he used his engineering knowledge to locate and destroy the tracking card in both the hog and a week later the armor.
Settling in to the cave, Cypher had built a workbench with what he could find with his bare hands. He fashioned a pair of heavy curtain rods made from a couple of trees he had meticulously dropped without notice and hung a set of gray heavy tarps he had also liberated from the depot, ran them though the dust and abused them to the point they appeared rocky to camouflage the entrance and blocking the light from being seen from the outside at night. He had made it his home, hiding his hog and his equipment.
Cypher spent most of his time working on his gear or forging/hunting for food, making it a point to only move at night with his armor on. Like the night before, he went out and had stolen almost an entire box of tools from Red base to maintain his gear. But he avoided Blue base, the place didn’t smell right to him as if some dark shadow loomed over the place. He sensed danger and steered clear.
His creators made him to be efficient tactically and otherwise. And he was going to operate with efficiency as he tinkered with a cylindrical object about twice the size of a shotgun barrel. He was building a suppressor for his M45 tactical shotgun out of any scrap parts he found so he didn’t have to constantly mute or reduce the audio system in his helmet to prevent being deafened by the weapon‘s loud report.
But when the sound of grass being heavily disturbed outside the cave caught his sensitive hearing made him pause, quietly set down his tools and grabbed his M6S suppressed magnum as he moved for the mouth of the cave. As he got closer he started to hear weeping, he eased his stance but didn’t lower his guard.
“Poor Bunnylops… I hope Church and Tucker rescue him…”
Cypher carefully parted the curtain just enough to where he could see outside, his eyes adjusted after a few moments and he got a view of the intruder. A dark blue chupa in blue armor, drawing circles in the dirt by one of the trees.
“Why do the Reds have to be bullies… why can’t we get along…”
His training kicking in, the Omega breed started gathering intel on the individual and the situation at hand. ‘Subject: Identity unknown. Affiliation: Blue army apparently. Male. Age: Very young from his scent, age of conscription at the very least. Associates: Church and Tucker, possibly the other two blue Chupadores in this canyon. Assumed psychological profile: Immature possibly boarding mild dementia. Present state: Sorrowful. Intent: Non-threatening. Threat level…unarmed and harmless. Aggressive action unnecessary.’ he finished his tactical analysis and flipped the safety on the weapon. He could even smell the chupa’s tears as he continued to cry.
The blue just continued to mope, “Sarge said they were going to eat him… I don’t want him to be eaten. Caboose would have no one to talk to… no one to play with… all because of them losing a few stupid tools…” this continued on for about an hour before he fell asleep leaving Cypher to his thoughts.
‘Tools… it was over the tools…’ the Draco thought not realizing that his actions had stirred a up trouble between the residence of the canyon. He didn’t know why but his chest clinched. Was it guilt? Or something more troublesome. Whatever it was he hated the feeling… and it was something he intended to correct.
‘Alright… guess it’s time for a rescue mission.’
Ch.3 Loading up, Oiled and Chili peppers.
Omegrad. -twelve hours before-
As the evening wore on, safely outside the conflict of the holy war. The lights of the holy city of Omegrad started to go out as it’s residence found their way to there beds except one. In the chambers of the high priestess Myhsu went about her evening reports over a cup of warm tea. It was the same thing each day, war reports, territory claims, tithe reports, the usual story each and every day.
Until her eyes crossed one file with two particular emblems on it. One belonged to the department of chupatology, but the other was new though almost ominous looking. It was a round crest adorned with what appeared to be a chupa's head three slash marks and three stars. She paused as most as if she was hesitating to read it, then after about a moment she opens the folder and smiles.
“I was beginning to wonder...” she whispers to herself taking a sip of her tea. “Its been two weeks since he was activated, they must be scrambling to keep a lid on this and praying that I don't catch wind of it.” she chuckles as she reads the file, “Pointless yet still entertaining to see them stumble about to try and hide it from me.”
“I so do look forward to seeing what you can do Cypher, especially now with the Freelancers on your tail. I'm also curious as to what my master's plan for you is.” she smiled widely, hiding the rather mischievous and somewhat malicious nature behind her tone.
Lactan, Freelancer mobile command. -present-
Seven Freelancer agents crowded the mobile command center's armory as they got loaded out for their assignment. Wash had yet to arrive. Tex just stood off to the side irritable at the fact that her colleague had not shown up yet, everyone was pretty much ready to go. Even the Steel gray Vulpus Agent Tennessee, the rookie of the group, was going over her gear again with finely tuned attention to detail. Tex couldn't figure it out but something about the Fox Chupa seemed off, she was quiet... too quiet.
Then agent Washington walks though the hatch covered from head to toe in aviation oil with his own sour look of agitation. Suddenly Tex's anger and frustration eased, “Wash where the hell were you? Why do you look like you lost a fight with a machine? And what the hell is that black stuff?” Even though these were seasoned Freelancers with several missions under their belts they still knew how to have a sense of humor. And most of them actually laughed at Wash's predicament.
“Damn Wash I thought you were ugly before, that oil on you is actually an improvement.” South Dakota started to hound the formally off gray chupadore.
“Really? Now?” Wash shouted exasperated shooting a murderous glare at Tex, “Firstly I was helping the pilot with one of the Falcons, it was having an oil leak so I patched it... and then it ruptured and sprayed everywhere. So yes I lost a fight to a machine and now I'm covered in oil. We're grounded for the night. So get comfortable... but stay ready.”
“And what are you going to do?” the teal blue furred ,red headed Carolina asked with a ghost of a smile on her muzzle.
“I'm going to wash this shit off before it gets caked on my fur.” He walked out fuming and saying something about idiots.
The room went quiet for a minute before Tex broke the silence, “Did somebody get that?”
“Ohhhh yea.” New York held up his POV camera.
“You devious little bastard.” Wyoming shot at him grinning for ear to ear.
Lina caught what was going on, “You're going to blackmail him later aren't you?”
The sudden racking of a rifle bolt cut off any further discussion as Tennessee began checking her weapon for the seventh time in a row since she'd been in there.
“Humph... back to work I guess...” Carolina said as she grabbed York by the wrist, “Come on York we'll take first watch.”
“Yea.” Was all Tex said as she watched the two leave. Before glancing at the rookie before she sat down on the bench next the Dakotas, “Has she been doing that the entire time?”
“Yea she has. And she hasn't said a word while she's doing it.” North whispers looking over to their new teammate, “Its a little unsettling.”
“Rumor is she use to be part of some sort of special ops team before getting recruited by Freelancer.” South added sharply, “But their last mission went tits up and four of its members got killed and one is MIA.”
Tennessee; as if reacting to South's statement of facts slapped a magazine into her M392 DMR, primed it and slung it over her shoulder before she walked out. Every action executed in the space of ten second, and each movement was crisp clean and precise, as if it was drilled into her so much that it became a subconscious movement. “Nice job Sis. I think you pissed her off.”
“She's a scout, well trained.” Wyoming spoke up, “Heard a wild tale about her pulling off a two mile head shot with that rifle of hers.”
“Two miles? With a 392?” Tex repeated, “Don't bullshit me, Wyoming, even I'm not that good.” now that thought disturbed her. The possibility existing that somebody was actually better than her. Granted she accepted that Carolina was damn near her equal in battle because she worked her tail off to get up to that point, even Maine and Illinois were up there with her in skill. Only because Maine was a brute and Illinois was a cold, semi-sadistic professional... but Tennessee was something else entirely.
“Ooooh is that a bit of jealousy I'm sensing?” South chuckled, “Worried that someone might actually knock you off the board?”
“Fuck you South.” the dark furred female spat as she walked out. “How can I be jealous? I do this for a living...” she walked away from the tailors. After she got some distance away she allowed herself to process what her teammates told her about what they've heard about Tennessee. Special Forces, a failed mission, sole survivor, expert scout and marksmen all screamed at the rookie being of the “lone wolf” archetype. Which in all honesty, being a lone wolf operator rarely ever worked out-Tex herself being one of the few exceptions. She threw her hands up in frustration, trying to make sense of the rookie was only giving her a headache.
She turned to head back with the intention to squeeze more information out their “Team Leader” only to find that Tennessee was behind her in a tree. Texas had walked right past her. The female fox chupa paid her no mind as her face was blank as stone, her golden eyes on the horizon and rifle at the ready, as if danger was lurking just out of view. And that's when Tex saw it; behind the fox's steely gaze she saw anger, guilt and the pain she was suffering underneath. Its when it suddenly clicked, Tennessee probably had to watch as her last team died, and she was left feeling a major case of survivor's guilt. Tex couldn't personally relate, its something she's never personally been though since she prefers to work solo herself. But one thing was certain she got the distinct feeling that the rookie didn't give a shit if she lived or died.
And that, clearly made her more dangerous than Tex first thought.
Timae OP1A (Red Base) -Same evening-
Things were oddly quiet at Red Base even though Sarge was whistling an army marching hymn loudly as he was getting things prepared for the stew cutting up vegetables particularly potatoes, carrots and very mincing up very minute amounts of onion.
Simmons and Dount were walking in from outside the former carrying in a military grade shock proof plastic case no bigger than a bread box, while the latter carried a wooden box of spices. “What do you think is in there? It doesn't look all that heavy and it looks like its important.”
“Dount. Command dropped this on us without warning, of course it’s important. Now get those spices to Sarge.” Simmons sighed annoyed parting ways with the rather fruity private as he walked to the armory with the case in hand, carefully putting it on the floor before he punched in Sargent's code: zero-zero-zero-zero. The door unlocked and Simmons pushed it open with a sigh, “I really got to get on to Sarge about changing the door code... even an idiot can figure it out.” picking up the crate he walks in and sets the crate on top of a table and leaves it there.
Turning to leave, he eyed a crate meticulously tucked into the corner. He approached and kneeled down to it and almost gazed upon it. The case was green letters SPNKR were predominantly displayed on it, it was a heavy ordinance case used to transport explosives and launchers. This case in particular Simmons covertly slipped into Sarge's last supply order, then had he had to use the Hog to retrieve it alone. He went though great lengths to ensure that nobody found it.
Simmons patted the case gently before getting up and walking towards the door... only for something to grab him from behind and started to choke the air out of him. He tried to flail and beat on the insanely strong bristly arm, the helpless red tried to reach for anything that could be used to make a sound but he couldn't find anything as his flailing slowly ceased as the blackness took him. The figure dropped him and moved on not before helping himself to the contents of the crate Simmons just brought in.
Almost completely oblivious to his surroundings as he prepared. “It’s not five alarm chili but I haven't had my ma's rabbit stew in years.” He grinned glancing down at the rabbit. “Enjoying the last twenty minutes of your little life?” he chuckled as Bunnylops thrashing about his cage trying to get out.
“How’s the stew coming Sarge?” Donut asked skipping into the kitchen placing the spices on the counter.
“Going well! I love Mama's rabbit stew.” the Bison-breed replied, “Got all the vegetables cut up, just got to break the little feller's neck and clean'em”
“Aww, too bad. He's Caboose's little pal he's sure gonna miss him.” he genuinely did feel bad, its just they hadn't had any good quality food in a long time so the guilt was pushed to the back of his mind.
“Now thats done, time to...” before he could get another word in edge wise the power went out. “What the hell? GRIF! WHAT DID YOU DO YOU FREAKING CHEESE PUFF?!?!”
Grif was laying on his bunk reading a magazine when the power failed, he was annoyed at the fact his relaxation was disrupted but something as simple as a power outage. He pushed himself off his bunk grabbed a flashlight and opened his door, “Simmons! The generator tripped again!”
There was no reply as the impatient chupa groaned, left his room lighting his path as he walked towards the generator room with the intention of trying to figure it out himself... just this once. He rounded the corner around the war room then down the hall a little. He opened the door to the maintenance room finding it pitch black like the rest of the base.
Upon reaching the room's mid-point a deep growl resonated throughout the room, causing Grif to jump shining the light back at the door behind him. Finding nothing there his knees started to tremble with fear. “Simmons, if this is a joke it’s not funny!” He shined the light at and around the open door, repeatedly as his heart was pounding in his chest. Seeing nothing he relaxed for a moment for a moment and turned back towards the generator. And right before him stood what in his mind was a monster, standing a head taller than him Grif slowly angled the flashlight up slowly outlining the intruder's matte black armor, black leathery body suit all the way up to were it reflected off the intruder's golden visor.
The orange chupa backpedaled as the monster suddenly reared up making itself seem a little taller, and spread its leathery wings out growling even louder and more threatening. Grif panicked, and booked it out the maintenance room dropping the flashlight in the process and somehow finding his room and barricading himself inside.
Under his visor the monster's stone face didn't even crack a smile, 'Two obstructions incapacitated. Proceeding with mission.'
Just outside, Church and Tucker started to scope out their objective, the red base from their spot in the treeline. Their goal was the same as their unknown resident, to rescue Mr.Bunnylops before Sarge can turn him into stew for the Reds' bellies. Church had his rifle in hand sighting in the front entrance.
“Looks clear, looks like their all inside... hmmm, might be sleeping or getting ready to cook I dunno.” Church observed, sweeping his scope from the front entrance, “Its really quiet.”
“Church... you never say it's quiet in this shit hole.” Tucker groaned.
The light blue wolf breed growled lightly, “Says the one carrying around the laser prototype. Why did you even bring that? We're suppose to be testing it dude not bringing it into a potential battle.”
“Hey I got to make do with something, you won't let me use the fucking sniper rifle.” Tucker countered pulled the shoulder fired laser weapon off his back and seated it on his shoulder. The weapon was easily half his size. “At least its better than my pistol.” he flipped the catch, letting the lens array rise and extend into firing position. “I bet I could hit something with this before you hit anything with your rifle.”
“Really Tucker? You have to pull this shit right now? When we're about the sneak in and rescue Caboose's stupid rabbit?”
The aqua blue chupa just shrugged, “Just calling it how I see it buddy, and you suck.”
Church growled lowly returning his sights on the Red base, “I fucking hate you...”
“Simmons! Grif!” Sarge bellowed feeling around and eventually found the familiar grip of his M90A, Flipping on the Tac-light and aiming at the door on the other end of the mess hall. “Donut. I think we have a situation.” Sarge punctuated the statement by pumping a shell into the shotgun's barrel.
The 'light red' chupa didn't say anything as he fumbled with his pistol trying to keep his sight lines in line with the NCO's shotgun. Obviously never have been in a combat situation where their adversary had not only telegraphed his presence, but also meticulously stripped them of their numbers and advantages as he did so.
The two slowly moved towards the door and out into the base's curved lower semi-subterranean hallway. Sarge kept calm and controlled his breathing, like the Bison-breed was on the hunt gently swinging the light back and forth. Donut was another matter entirely he fidgeting nervously, he was involved in the first fight on Church's first turning. To be frank, Pinkie shit his pants.
A loud “clacking” sound caused Sarge to instinctively throw up his trigger hand in a closed fist indicating to hold. The sound came from the stairs, it persisted for about a moment before the sound changed to what compared to a steel can rolling on concrete. Then the saw it, a cylinder about the size of a tomato can rolled around the corner wearing a chili pepper label.
“What is that Sarge?” Donut whispered in a shaky voice.
“It's a can, Donut.” Sarge said with a slight sigh. He eyeballed the can for a moment, “Wait…are those my canned chili peppers?” as if on cue, the can starts to rapidly spout a red mist that quickly enveloped the two chupas. “GAS!”
“MY FACE IS ON FIRE!” Donut dropped his handgun dropped to the floor and started to flail about trying to pointlessly protect himself from the potent fumes.
Sarge somehow wasn't phased by it, “Donut you ninny, its just a gas made from chili peppers! Its...” he was about to say harmless when a heavy handed punch spun him around while he was distracted with Donut. Recovering quickly Sarge spun around and cracked off a shot at a target that was no longer there. The gas cloud was thick and he couldn't see a thing, and his flashlight was only making it worse. He pumped the action re-chambering a shell when he received a sharp punch just above his right unarmored kidney causing a massive wave of intense pain to rip though his torso, it also caused his body to uncontrollably convulse due to the sudden and violent disruption of the electrical impulses of his nervous system. Sarge cursed his decision to take his armor off before cooking. The intruder swiftly disarmed him, grabbed him by the forearm and with a quick twist and shift of body weight Sarge was pulled over the intruder's back and slammed the veteran on the concrete floor.
With the threat effectively neutralized the intruder moves on, to the mess hall.
Cypher had dealt with all four reds, each with a different tactic. He even had a bit of basic information on them. Simmons, he physically incapacitated. Grif, he incapacitated by intimidation. Donut-'seriously' he thought- he brought down with the gas. Though Sarge was resistant to the pepper gas he had to improvise with disabling techniques. He had set his parameters to be less than lethal, LTL. He brought no weapons -not even his M6S. Just the a few tools and improvised pepper grenades. He didn't even come in full armor, just the basic standard issue under-cloths, chest plates, thigh plates the left one having a soft case attached to it, grenade belt, and of course his helmet, with his new acquisition attached to his lower back.
Now his path was clear, or so he thought. He walked into the mess hall and from their into the kitchen, he saw the rabbit cowering in his damaged cage as the large Omega Variant approached. The rabbit's cage, which it's sole occupant was frantically trying to escape the large armored figure until he put a finger to his visor and carefully opened the cage. Then with a gentle hand he took the rabbit deposited it into the soft case on his left thigh. The rabbit hesitated but it didn't have any other choice, he let the OV do what he needed to. After he retrieved Bunnylops he swiftly but carefully moved back though the lower floor and back up stairs. So far everything was going to plan.
'So far so good.'
Back in the armory, Simmons stirred and coughed as he came too. “Son of a bitch...” he uncharacteristically growled pushing himself off the cold floor. But the best he could managed was to stumble around until he landed on a crate... his crate. He got a wild idea, the others were going to hurt him for this but despite times call for desperate measures.
He popped the safety catches and pushed the lid off the container reveling an M41SSR MAV/AW. A guided anti-armor/anti-aircraft rocket launcher, along with two additional launcher assemblies. He carefully grabbed the heavy weapon and pulled it from it's carved padding and planting it firmly on his shoulder flipping the arming switch giving the launch assembly power. He had also grabbed a nearby headlamp and slipped the straps over his head.
He walked to the door and listened for movement, he could hear the shuffling of the intruder's feet on the concrete floor, grabbing the handle with his off-hand he pulled on it hard and fast swinging the door hard enough to slam against the wall, the noise and the light got the intruder's attention as Simmons leveled the launcher on him.
The figure bolted out the door with Simmons hot on it's heels. Once outside, he dropped down into a kneel and took aim at the ground near the escaping intruder as it ran for the river. He pulled the trigger, and he could hear a subtle yet very quick hiss as the rocket motor ignited propelling the warhead out of the tube. The target jumped at the last moment spreading it's wings catching some air as the sudden heat and force from the explosive impact aided in it's ascent and escape.
“FUCK!” the maroon private yelled out in anger, he caught movement in the corner of his eye turned leveled the launcher again on the treeline this time and fired.
The two Blues stayed put when they heard Sarge's shotgun go off, the watched as the unknown assailant ran from the base with incredible agility, and subsequently fly over the river and out of reach. Other than staying where they were the entire time the shit hit the fan they didn't react. They however did react to the rocket that had been launched at them by a very angry Richard Simmons.
“FUCK! GET DOWN!!” Church yelled in alarm as both chupadores got suddenly intimate with the dirt as the rocket flew over their heads and obliterated a tree about ten feet behind them.
Tucker recovered quickly, springing back up and level the laser prototype on Simmon so he showed up on the display, “EAT THIS!” He pulled and held the trigger like the instruction manual had said to do when firing, the weapon whirred when the charged built up, however it gave a thin red laser to assist in aiming that gave away both position and intent. Simmons had just enough time to hit the dirt before a massive red beam ripped though where his head would have been, leaving a solid black burn on the wall behind him.
“Fuckberries...” Tucker cursed, Church had that smug look that basically said, ' 'Hit something before I can.' yea right.' Though he didn't get up, he made it a point to extend the bipod on his outdated S2 AM rifle and put his cross-hairs down range.
But fact of the matter is, they had the lone Red dead to rights, “Hey! Dumbass!” Tucker shouted across the field, “Looks like your empty, I still got four shots left in this thing so drop your newb-tube and tell us what the fuck just happened.”
“WHAT!?” Simmons yelled back dropping the empty assembly and put the launcher platform on his back, “Are you saying it's not with you?”
“Dude really? If we had some kind of hulking winged motherfucker fighting for us, do you honestly think we'd still be here?”
“Then what the fuck was that?!”
“I have an idea...” Church answered finally getting up. “You probably won't like the answer.”
Even though there were on opposite sides of the line, on opposite sides of the canyon both Simmons and Tucker had the same thought, “Fuck.”
Caboose was still snoozing like an innocent little kid against the same tree when Cypher returned, his heavy steps woke the young male up causing him to stair at the large imposing figure in confusion. Carefully, Cypher reached into his soft case and pulled out it's passenger. Caboose instantly beamed in happiness “Bunnylops!”, he took the slightly shell shocked rabbit from the stranger's grasp and hugged him. “Thank you, thank you, thank you.”
He couldn't help it, but Cypher felt a small tug of a smile on his face. Helping Caboose caused a slight feeling of accomplishment and pride to emerge in the Draco's chest. As he turned away to head to his cave to get his armor off and prepare for the days ahead.
“Wait.” Caboose called out, causing Cypher to pause and look over his shoulder the blue felis was behind him holding Bunnylops in his arms, “Will you be my new best friend?”
Friend. The word was almost alien to the rogue Omega Variant. He knew its meaning and its purpose, but he had been on the run since he woke up... he hadn't even thought about it. The last few encounters he'd had with soldiers before coming to the canyon turned violent and he ended up slaughtering them he felt nothing for those he killed, no guilt or remorse. He wouldn't turn a weapon on someone unwilling to fight, unless... “Only if you don't tell anyone.” Was all he said as he walked off, he was taking a big risk.
'I should move the vehicle tonight... things are getting too active, I may have to make a hasty escape.' Cypher thought to himself, 'I have a feeling things about to get... complicated.'
Sarge woke up in his bunk with a splitting headache, what felt like several bruised ribs and he was pretty sure his kidney was bruised pretty bad. “Ugggh, did someone get the license plate of that Albatross that crashed on me?”
“Sarge!” Simmons came in to the room, “You're awake! Take it easy you got beat on pretty bad.”
“What hit me?”
“No idea, but it got all of us apparently.” Simmons reported, “You and I are nursing bruises, Donut is trying to get the pepper juice out of his fur.”
“That was brilliant of that guy...”
“Yea... and Grif is... well catatonic.” Simmons tried his best to describe the presently fractured mental state of their laziest member. “Like you and me he had direct contact with our assailant... he keeps saying to himself that 'there is no such thing as dragons'.”
Sarge nodded in understanding changing the subject “Status of the base?”
“Generator is online, but the radio is trashed.”
“Damnit... was anything taken?”
The Private immediately got nervous, “Umm... Just the rabbit and...”
“And what Simmons?” Sarge pressed, wanting answers. And he was going to get them.
“Whoever it was... took the prototype shield module R&D send us for testing.”
“Simmons... we'll discuss that later.” His tone was low, and evidently angry, “Did those dirty Blues try to over take us?”
Simmons shook his head with a sigh of relief, “No, the witnessed the attacker leave, and attempted to engage.” Technically that last part was a lie but it covered up the fact that he almost got turned to ash by the Blues' prototype weapon. “They radioed the Medical Corps to try and get us some help... they even tried to radio their command to declare a possible Romeo Omega Victor.”
This surprised the veteran, the Blues actually deliberately put themselves in hot water to get them at least some medical assistance, “That's actually pretty neighborly of them... so they think its a Rogue Omega Variant?”
“Nothing else on this ring of that size has wings... unless you count the bat tribes sir.”
“What did they say?”
“Nothing, after they contacted the medics, their coms started getting interference... same with the Hog's radio.”
“Jamming...” Sarge concluded, “This would be a shitty time for the Movement to attack us... this canyon would make a good staging point.” his eyes narrowed, “Or the perfect firing position for a trans-orbital cannon... they could hit Omegrad from here!”
Simmons swallowed hard, “What do we do?
“Something I dreading that we have no choice but to do Simmons...” Sarge let out a pained chuckle, “Under the current circumstances, with the rogue OV running around and the possibility of a Rebel invasion of this canyon. Due to lack of instruction from our command-and them theirs- we're going to take independent action to insure the defense of this canyon and by extension Omegrad and any red forces on the other side of the ring.” he took a breath to finally get it off his chest, “We negotiate a temporary truce and end of combat operations with the Blues... and work with them to protect the ring from the evil forces of the Movement.”
“Should I go tell them?”
“Yes... I'll do my best to try and write it up nice and proper like... “
“Commander. Our spies indicate that the Freelancer team should be on their way to Honkal in the morning. Our ambush will be ready for them.”
“Good... ever since we've learned about their supposed mission to Timae we knew that they on to us, that they would try and stop us.” The Commander spoke, “These reports of a 'Rogue Omega Variant' on the loose is just a bunch of lies made up by the Church and Department of Chupatology to keep us from achieving our goal in Honkal. They bombed themselves and raided their own lab to suit their needs.”
“On that note sir, I'm pleased to inform you that our assault forces are in position. We'll be ready to hit the donations center and eliminate the district priest and his family.”
“Even our rebellion needs money to function and establish contacts in every possible corner of the world. And killing the priest would show the people that they are not safe that they are wrong, that we're nothing more than pawns, little playthings for Omega's personal entertainment... but they will see... they will open their eyes. Sirca will be free.”
Morning came and the team left their mobile base as the two Falcons headed west in search of their quarry. The sun was peaking over the horizon behind them as they flew, most of them were still waking up but one slept soundly even as the birds were flying. Tennessee snoozed soundly cradling her rifle against her chest, her current state of rest drew slight attention from the other occupants of the VTOL, namely agent Texas, who's sitting in the falcon's rear center seat with Carolina in the drop seat to her right.
“Well, I guess she's not all bad... at least she has nerves enough to sleep though the trip... she was up all last night keeping watch.” Tex whispered to herself.
“Wyoming said she had her eyes glued on the horizon when he got up...” Carolina informed her with slight concern lacing her tone even though the rotor's attempt to drown her out, “She was tense like an steel trap waiting to be sprung... its like she senses a fight is coming.” North who was sitting on Tennessee's left was playing it cool, “It's probably her scout instincts kicking in...or maybe she's clairvoyant she is a Vulpus after all.”
“North, I never knew you to be into that mystical bullshit.”
“I'm not.” the male Equus chuckled adjusting his rifle, “I mean hell if it was true, why can't Wash predict when he's going to get in trouble?”
“Because battle sense is more reliable than a sixth sense, North.” Agent Washington interjected over the radio, “Clairvoyance is a myth in fairy-tales, predicting the future has no tactical or strategic value on the battlefield.”
“Yea, yea.” North shrugged, before he looked over to their team's sleeping rookie. She seemed peaceful, yet strangely focused. But as he looked down a little, he was able to make out something branded into her collar bone just barely concealed by the strap of her tank top. He could make out what looked to be the numbers three-one-two, there was something else but her clothes hid it.
That was something else that had his attention, this was a capture and retrieval mission, but she was geared for war. Long range patrol harness holding pouches just under her breast, her sidearm holstered under her left arm. A kukuri knife strapped to her belt on her right side along with a combat trauma kit strapped to her left leg along with a length of utility rope, ironically below a few grenades.
“You know... if she wakes up to you staring at her breasts she's probably going to kill you. It's what I'd do, so... you may want to stop.” Tex casually suggested with her head cocked to one side hiding a smirk.
Suddenly realizing the situation he was caught in he quickly averted his eyes away from their new teammate, “I wasn't... I was just checking out her gear.”
“Sure you were...” Carolina chuckled.
“Not you too...” North groaned.
“Something you want to share with the rest of us ladies?” Wash called over again,
“Nothing Wash, just picking on North a little bit.” Tex responded with a bit humor.
“Well stop, we just entered Timae airspace, get ready. And wake Tenness....” the radio cut out suddenly as a Jackhammer rocket slammed into the Falcon's nose instantly killing the pilot, the aircraft seemed to hang there for a moment before it plummeted to the ground with a high pitched whine.
“SHIT!” their pilot cursed, as she jerked the VTOL to the side dodging the rocket that was meant for them the rocket couldn't make the sharp turn as it broke contact, “This is Prowler Two to any loyal forces! We've been engaged by rebel elements and my wingman is down! Requesting assistance! Hang on! Taking evasive maneuvers!!”
No sooner did the Falcon change direction again, as Tennessee was awake and out of her seat quickly clipping her line to the aircraft's interior hardpoints anchoring herself to the bird. Tex couldn't believe what she was seeing. The rookie had her feet firmly planted on the Falcon's deck wrapping the rope around her rifle to give it stability.
It seemed the rookie was trying to line up her shots, but the Falcon wailing and spinning was preventing her from getting her line of sight. “Here comes another salvo! Hang on!” the pilot cried out as the bird pulled hard to the right causing most of them to latch on to their seats, while Tennessee tried to use her footing and lifeline to steady herself and her rifle as the aircraft banked right. However her boots slid across the steel. After a second or two of sliding she shifted and grabbed onto her lifeline with her right hand, clutching her weapon with her left.
Pulling hard with a grunt, she made it back to her original spot on the platform. Taking a knee and steadying her 392 once again, she took a deep breath and scanned for her target. Distance and the heat from the ground were throwing off her lines of sight, but that was when she saw it. The flare of the launcher!
Not having the time she would like, she quickly lined up her rifle and squeezed off four rounds in rapid succession. Tennessee half prayed to whatever God would hear her that her shots where true... and the rockets stopped firing.
Texas couldn't believe it. The rookie had apparently saved their skins with those seemingly well-placed shots. But as it would have it luck was not on their side.
A white streak speared the Falcon's right rotor hub, igniting the fuel line and caused it to explode, throwing Tennessee from left side of the VTOL as it started to auto-rotate to try and soften the inevitable crash landing. Both Tex and North had lunged to try and grab her before she fell, but both Freelancers missed grabbing their falling teammate's gear by inches.
Everybody aboard knew that it was a long fall, and all that was left of their junior member was the rifle that was still tangled up in her lifeline. The line snapped taunt a moment later signifying that the freelancer was still clipped on and hanging from the end of the line as the Falcon spun out of control.
The ground started getting closer as they fell out of the sky, a moment of dread nearly over came them, “Everybody hang on! This is going to get ugly!”
“Define ugly!” North called out, hang on to both his seat and his rifle.
“You'll see when we hit the ground Agent!” the pilot responded fighting for control. “This isn't going to be a soft landing! You better jump!”
It didn't help, and to make matters worse Tennessee's lifeline suddenly went slack leaving her rifle just dangling from the ceiling. “Wash, South, York, Wyoming and now Tennessee. Most of their team had been taken out or had gone missing, leaving just the three of them, and now it was their turn to dance.
“Jump! NOW!” was the last thing they heard before Carolina and Texas managed to leap from the crashing aircraft last minute before it slammed into the ground in a shower of sparks and sand.
The two females managed to land without injury, even as they coughed and choked on the dust cloud the VTOL kicked up when it crashed on the plateau, they managed to pick themselves up. “Are you alright?” Tex manages to get out.
“Yea, just a little shaken and most of my gear is gone. They don't exactly preform crash tests on those things with living people aboard.” the teal redhead shook her head and dusted herself off, before noticing one of them was missing, “Where's North?”
“I thought...” Tex looked around not seeing North anywhere around them, “Shit...” She looked towards the crashed Falcon that was now laying on it's side with it's remaining rotor sticking in the air.
“We'd need to get him out of there before the thing goes up.”
“Agreed, three is better than two right now.” Tex agreed as the two of them headed for the downed craft in hopes that their sniper made it though the crash.
What they found was something astonishing, North was still breathing. His right foot was twisted at a sickening angle, he had a small piece of metal lodged in his side and he was bleeding slightly from the mouth, but he was alive. “Hey... mind helping a guy out?” he chuckled, “My rifle is trashed... but I think Tenn's DMR still works... it got caught in her lifeline.” he hacked out, “My harness release is stuck, you're going to have to cut it...”.Carolina didn't hesitate. she hopped in the crew bay and carefully cut the Equus chupa loose trying to help him get to a more comfortable position. “Errgh, easy Lina that thing is in deeper than it looks.”
“Well, lets get that leg straightened out.” She whispers to him, feeling his ankle for where the bones were suppose to go, “Ready?”
“Lina wait... don't...” She didn't give him a chance to finish, as a sick but crisp snap sounded though the plateau followed by the unmistakable scream of pain. North couldn't handle it, he passed out right there in the crew bay.
“Carolina what the hell!?” Tex hissed as she peeked in seeing her teammate bandaging up North's leg with what was left so they could try and move him, “We need to...” The sudden snapping and hissing of near missing bullets, “STAY DOWN!” Tex dropped down behind the wreckage using it as cover just as a flatbed warthog pulls up with about four other rebels. Quickly drawing her pistols Tex leans out from the sides and tries to take quick shots.
“We're pinned!” Carolina yelled sticking her side arm out into the open and tapping off a couple of rounds before dropping back down to to avoid getting hit. “How many do you see out there?”
“There is about five of them, all in military gear with similar weapons!” Tex rattled off, and her heart damn near stops with a second hog pulls up equipped with a mounted weapon something that was very unlikely to miss with, “Gauss! Shit we got to move now!”
But it was too late. The gunner had leveled on the wreck and charged the cannon, it only took both women a moment to ask Omega to forgive them for their failure. Time slowed, heartbeats could be heard over the constant sounds of gunfire as the two mentally prepared themselves to join the rest of their friends in the afterlife. And then... the unexpected shot of a mid-caliber semi-automatic. Blood erupted out the back of of the gunner's skull forcing him to spasm, forcing the cannon to the left firing the slug to the left of the downed aircraft and sending it ricocheting off the rocks then off into the distance. Carolina looks down to see North awake again sticking Tennessee's DMR out of the space between the wreck and the ground squeezing off rounds at what he could see while trying to make himself as small as a target as possible.
“THIRD MAN!” One of the rebels called out just as a shot for an entirely different direction tore though him and struck the collection of jerrycans on the back of the Gauss-hog friction igniting the gasoline and turning the scout vehicle into an instant fireball taking out it's driver and passenger along with it. The explosion had caught them off guard and had started to sow confusion among the rebels as they started to look every which way trying to
Taking advantage of the diversion the two female freelancers broke cover and started laying down the pain, Carolina emptied the remaining ammo in the DMR with pinpoint shots, as Tex did the same with her pistols. The fight was over in moments as the rebels never really stood a chance. Not with a sniper pinning them down and Freelancers on their open flank mopping them up.
“Damn...” Tex sighs after the last rebel drops dead, “I'm used to things getting bad... but getting shot down and ambushed on a retrieval mission?” She had a reason to gripe a little bit, she wasn't use to the idea that she herself could get ambushed.
“TEX YOUR LEFT!” Carolina shouted out as a rebel-bleeding from gunshot wound in his shoulder-now had Tex in the sights of his pistol, they were almost out ammunition though North still had his pistol, he didn't have a shot. And he was to far away for the girls to close the gap before he fires. Tex's heart started to pound even harder as the dying gunman squeezed the trigger in one last act of defiance against Omega. That was until he lurched forward snapping off the shot wide and send it whizzing by Tex's head.
“TEX catch!” a shout from the downed aircraft was soon followed by a handgun flying though the air. Texas deftly caught it and without even bothering to check to see if it was even loaded, she leveled the magnum and fired. First shot went low and caught him in the leg the second and third in his thigh and groin, the forth and fifth ended up in his stomach, the sixth though the twelfth found their intended marks center mass in the rebel's chest.
Bleeding from twelve fresh bullet wounds his eyes rolled to the back of his head as he slumped over dead, reveling the long blade and handle of a kukuri knife embedded in the small of his back and several yards back a battered, bruised and slightly bloodied Agent Tennessee found herself in the hot and empty M6's sights. bandaged left ankle that was barely visible though her boot, several minor cuts on her arms and face with her right arm in a makeshift rope sling. Pistol was still holstered, and a spray painted gray and white SRS99D Sniper rifle on her back.
“Tennessee!” Tex exclaims letting her arms drop to her sides, “Glad you managed to make it back. Would hate to have to replace a rookie.”
She hobbled over to the corpse, favoring her leg and retrieved her knife, “Is everybody all right?”
“All right? All right!?” Carolina hissed climbing out of the wreck, “We just got shot down, North is in bad shape. Most of our equipment is gone, and we're almost out of ammo! You have Wyoming's rifle...” she stopped and processed what she had just said, “Wait. Why do you have Wyoming's gun?”
“Found it in the sand. Surprisingly intact. Was only able to get off one shot before it jammed though.” Tennessee started before her face contorted slightly trying to ignore the pain in her limbs, “Alpha has crashed about five kilometers north west of here in the jungle. They crashed closer to the canyon than we did and are probably getting hit just as hard, we need to move.”
“And fight with what? Sticks?” Carolina shot back pointedly as she got in the Steel blue chupa's face, “We've got little ammo and all we have is that Flatbed hog, both you and North needs a medic...”
“You've been trained for crash and grabs, solo demolition raids, don't tell me you don't now how to improvise... You're a Freelancer Agent for pity sake.” Tennessee's voice shifted to a rough growl, “You're one of the best, don't tell me that crash rattled your pretty little head, we need scavenge weapons and equipment from the enemy.”
“You little bitch...” Carolina did not take kindly to being insulted by the division's rookie. She grabbed Tennessee's harness and was about to let her have it.
“That all you got?” She spat at her wincing in pain as the rough handling agitated her injuries, “Surely you could do better.”
“Enough both of you!!” Tex barked, “She's right! Help me get North into the flatbed. Tenn salvage what you can... I'm assuming you know what we need for a long term mission?”
“Yes ma'am.” Was all Tennessee said before she shoved Carolina off of her with her good arm and went to work sorting out the rebel's equipment as Tex begrudgingly assisted Carolina in extracting North from the wreck.
“The nerve of her...”
“Not the time Carolina.” the other countered as the two of them carefully deposited their complaining male teammate into the flatbed of the remaining warthog, “She's not trying rile you up... or well it looked like she was. But save that fury for the rebels.”
The mission turned to a clusterfuck within an hour, half their team was MIA with one possibly dead with another in critical condition, and the thought they lost Tennessee when she fell. They were almost overrun, and Tennessee came back for them, she could have easily run but she came back for her team. “When we find Wash, he and I are going to have a chat.” her tone was neutral as she walked off to see about Tennessee's progress as Carolina sighed and made sure that North was as comfortable as physically possible.
“What do we have?”
Tenn's response was quick and clear almost completely monotone, “Two intact combat harnesses, eight grenades. Three functioning M6Gs with twelve full clips, four M7s with twenty mags, two MA5Cs with ten spare mags, two BR55 hybrid rifles with six mags, and an MA5B with two spares.”
“The MA5B is a relic, it's not a surprise they have one.” Tex quipped with a slight grin, but it disappeared when Tennessee didn't mirror the humor. “Look about earlier... with Carolina.”
“We just got shot down. Used to being on dealing end of such an attack and it got to everyone.” the latter responded, “It also hurt everyone's pride to the point. And I apologize for ruffling fur. It won't happen again.”
Tex nodded her appreciation; “Go relieve Carolina so we can gear up to bail out Alpha team. Please see to North's wounds if you can, you've got the med kit.”
“Understood.” was all she said as she got up grabbing the MA5B, it's spare mags and headed for the warthog, doing as instructed sending Carolina over to Tex and the accumulated collection of weapons.
“Hey rook.” North calls shifting to where he's almost completely upright, “Thought you were going to eat it.”
“I'm tougher than I look.” she said as she started pulling out the remaining contents of her medkit.
“Obviously...” he deadpanned before blushing lightly, “Hey look ummm... before the crash...”
“You were staring at my breasts... or more accurately the exposed part of my serial number. I usually have a look but don't touch policy. I mean looking is harmless.” North's brows rose in surprised, “Don't act so surprised, I'm a scout. The only time I'm REALLY asleep is when I have a floor, ceiling, four walls and a locked door protecting me. I could hear and practically sense everything that was going on before we got shot down... I honestly did not see that coming. And I'm usually pretty lucky when it comes to predicting things.”
“Does that mean that you're Clairvoyant?” he asked practically yelping when she carefully pulled the metal shard from his side.
“Strictly speaking, no.” Tennessee clarified taking the tip the bio-foam canister and with a shaky hand pressed it to North's wound, “Clairvoyance implies that I can see the future. When in reality I think up possible scenarios and if possible plan for them all... In this case I was wrong completely.”
“Ah damn that's cold!” he gripped
She struggled to hold the device still, “Stop fidgeting! It's hard enough trying to keep this steady with one hand.”
“What’s wrong with your arm?”
Tennessee took a moment to answer as she carefully sprayed the canister's contents into the open wound causing North to groan a little bit, “I dislocated my shoulder in the fall, I think I busted my foot too. But first thought after hitting the ground was trying to find you guys, so I wrapped my foot and made my way here I... didn't bother to reset it.”
“So you ran here without properly treating to your own injuries?” North ask both eyebrows raised, shocked and somewhat angry. “Don't tell me that you did...”
“Well... I had to move quickly, you guys needed the help.”
“Three things Rookie.” North's usually easy going chupa's tone serious, “First: You're not going to be very effective if you don't deal with your injuries. That knife trick only works once. Second: You vastly underestimate the scope of our combat abilities. We've been doing this longer than you think. And lastly: Tex, Carolina and I are in the top ten. Yeah that situation was a little messed up but we had it handled. Even though Tex was in the line of fire she and Lina both are both freaking speed freaks, she would have gotten out of it.”
Now it was Tennessee's turn to be a little embarrassed after getting her tail reamed by the man that she was treating, gritting her teeth in anger she drops the canister walks to the driver side the of the hog untying the sling as she walks. “What are you doing?” North asks in confusion.
The female freelancer just lined up her arm with it's socket and just stares at the hog's open driver compartment, “Treating my injury.”
Realization dawned on him too late as Tennessee charged the warthog slamming into it shoulder first rocking the jeep with the impact. What followed was a loud wet pop, of the shoulder being forcefully reinserted to the socket. North leaned over as far as he could to try and see if she was still conscious and found her on her side grabbing her relocated shoulder. “You are some piece of work...” he coughed
“Tell me something I don't know...” Was all she said form her position on the ground.
Carolina freelancer walked up beside her grabbing one of the harnesses,and pulled it over her shoulders “I guess we have plenty of gear to mount a rescue. At least she does her job as well as she pisses people off.
Tex slipped out of off her vest before mirroring the process of pulling her own harness over her shoulders and securing the belt around her waist that way the pouches hung comfortably below her breasts. Also making sure it didn't interfere with the shoulder rig for her pistol holsters. After a few tests of drawing her pistols and adjusting the straps of the harness accordingly, she had it to where it was ideal for her to draw unhindered. “Who ever she use to be... has trained extensively for situations like this.”
“The division couldn't have trained her like that, she's only been with us for six months.” Carolina pointed out grabbing a pair of M7s and clipped them to her belt along with pair of magazines and a pair of grenades. “You don't think she was SSF do you?”
“Donno.” Tex shrugged as she grabbed one of the 55s pulled the mag, inspecting it before putting it back in and giving the bolt a pull priming the weapon before putting it back on the ground. “It's not something I'm going to pry on yet. Back at the base camp, South made a comment about her old team. Tenn pitched faint signs of an attitude and walked out, like she was trying to avoid shooting her right there.” Pulling her vest back on over top of the harnesses she actually found herself surprisingly comfortable with the gear she had on. “I've never been apart of a team other than cleaning up after one. Her former team is a touchy subject, one that I'm not going to discuss with her unless she's ready.”
“So I take it the plan is to bail Alpha, make for the Canyon get North some help and keep hunting the target?” Carolina asked as she adjusted her gear, it was a question that was responded to with a nod from Tex. “Well lacking any other ideas lets stick with it.
The sound of hurried shuffling alerted the girls to Tennessee's approach, “North is good to go.” She reported, “I pulled the shrapnel and applied bio-foam to in the wound but...”
“But what?” Tex and Carolina both replied in stereo, concerned about their wounded teammate's condition.
“He's coughing up a fair bit of blood. My specialty is long range recon, I know standard field triage but I'm no surgeon.” Tennessee spoke hurriedly with a bit of urgency.
All three of them shared a look, they knew what had to be done, “Stow the gear and mount up we move in two.” Tex ordered. The others didn't respond as they quickly set to work packing the rest of the unloaded weapons and ammo into duffle bags before carefully loading it on to the hog next to North who had the sniper rifle now covering the group's rear.
Carolina took a place standing on the bed making sure not to aggravate North's wounds, using a spare rope she secured herself to the roll cage and placed the MA5B on cab's divider in almost a ready like posture. Tennessee rode shotgun with her DMR that North returned to her and Tex jumped into the driver seat.
“I'm fine, we should move.”
“The crash site?” almost as if on cue, the wreckage of the Falcon exploded in a fiery inferno.
“Alright lets roll.”
Timae Canyon outposts. Moments before
Morning for them was always a pain for the residences of the canyon, even more so for the four members of the Red Army. Sarge had nothing to do but sit around and clean his shotgun, Grif had finally came out of his room for food and judging from the bags under his eyes he got zero sleep, Donut was still napping.
The Blues had kept watch as the Reds rested from their ordeal. Even enjoying a pot of coffee because of their truce, but because “operational security” had to be protected they didn't invite them into the base. They just camped outside, which Church was actually somewhat ok with. It allowed him a view of the stars as he kept watches to ensure that that Omega breed didn’t jump them again. Even barring in mind that he could be the only one that could effectively stand his ground with the winged nightmare.
It was quiet until about mid-morning a pod fell from the sky into the middle of the canyon in a cloud of dust. The pod had been dropped from a cargo ship as it made it's flight across the ring.
“Oh, I so don't envy that guy.” Church winced as the dust cloud from the impact still lingered in the air.
Simmons was the first to appear though the door with his rifle ready, “Are we under attack?!?”
“No, I think the medical corps just airmailed us our medic.” The light blue wolf breed quipped causing the former to relax a bit.
“So that was a...”
“Damn.” Simmons whistled, “The doctors have always been quick to respond but... now they're dropping their own guys in pods?”
“Yea it seems like it.” Church confirmed, “Come on, lets get that poor bastard out of that flying... well falling metal coffin. Hopefully that fall didn't turn him into jello.” he grabbed his rifle from his little campsite and led the way to the canyon's new arrival.
After a short jog, the two arrive at the pod it was slightly dented, covered in dust and the hatch was sealed tight. Upon closer inspection they identified the pod as a...
“A SOEIV, damn this guy must be nuts.” Simmons piped up as he looked over the pod looking for it's release.
“Or he's the most pathetic guy on the ring and the corps is trying to toughen him up.” Church counters doing the same on the other side. “How do you open this thing?”
Simmons scratches his chin for a moment in though, “Normally when special forces drop in these things the hatches jettison upon landing...” he explained as Church looked into the tinted heat resistant glass, “You may want to step...”
The pod's seals started to hiss as the pressure started to release priming the hatch for release, Simmons reacting quickly shoved Church out of the way mere seconds before the hatch had violently launched itself across the canyon.
After about a few moments a figure stepped out of the pod “Finally... you have no idea how claustrophobic these pods can be.”
The two other Chupadores just looked at the newcomer, purple fur, canis breed... “Doc?!” they exclaimed.
“Yep... looks like I'm back again. But there isn't much time did you know two Falcons got shot down just east of here?”
“Damnit... it’s like that dream all over again...”Church groaned before the latter bit the statement clicked, “Wait what got shot down?”
“Two Falcons, neutral colors possibly freelancers.” Doc recited, “I think the Movement shot them down.”
Simmons slapped his hand against his face, “Looks like Sarge was right, the Movement is getting ready to hit the canyon...”
“Well let’s get the others and help those guys out.” Church turned towards Red Base, “Freelancers may be the best but they still can get overwhelmed if they get pinched."