Okay, so everyone wanted me to post one of my stories that I've been working on, so here is the start of it.
Just so you know, it will be slow going, because I'm not that fast at it, lol. There will be a few of the batoto people in the first story, and more in some of the other ones I do.
NOTE: I do not mind off topic conversations in between my story posts, but nothing in excess please.
Thank you to TheArux, SeeYou, Wanderous, and wEr4 for giving me the courage to post it. A special Thanks to Orcraniil for the perfect pic for Dangerous.
Another special thank you to Frost(now retired), my new editor. >^.^<
At the request of a couple of my readers, I will post my authors pic.
Dangerous Theme Song
Collection of All of the Current Chapters:
Chapter 1: The Storm
As if in defiance of the storm, a small faded green pick-up truck pushed and putted its way slowly through the rapidly accumulating snow drifts, its worn engine sputtering continually. The windows were foggy and every so often a gloved hand wiped unsuccessfully at the moisture. Inside the cab it was somewhat warm, though the heater so old it could barely manage to keep going. The figure behind the wheel swiped worriedly at the windshield again, trying in vain to keep a semblance of visibility. The town had to be here somewhere.
Out of the blue the truck spun out of control, and the woman cranked hard on the wheel, trying desperately to force the truck back under control. No such luck. Annabelle's head slammed hard against the steering wheel as the truck careened into a large snow bank, sputtered, and died. She let out a groan, pressing her hand to her forehead in an effort to stop the the throbbing as she tried to start the truck. Stupid thing didn't even attempt to turn over, the clicking audible above the howling wind.
Cursing her bad fortune, she started bundling up; removing the heavy jacket so she could pile on more sweaters and her muffler. Satisfied that she had enough, she shoved her arms back through the sleeves of the over sized winter jacket, yanked up the zipper, and shoved open the door of the dead pick-up. Powerful wind gusts nearly yanked it off the hinges, throwing her off balance so that she fell, rather ungracefully, from the seat into the snow.
Muttering a string of curses she picked herself up, slammed the door, and took a cautious look around. With a sigh she began pushing her way through the snow, one gloved hand pressing the muffler to her face in an effort to protect it from the bitter cold. It was going to be a hellish walk, but in order to reach her goal, she didn't have a choice. Her life depended on making it to that town, wherever the hell it was.
"Holy shit, its freaking cold," she muttered acidly, the wind ripping her words away form her.
She walked for what seemed to be endless hours through the deadly storm, her body having gone numb so long ago she barely felt herself trembling violently. As she wiped yet another sheet of snow from her face she caught sight of faintly glowing lights not too far in the distance, and her heart pounded out a rhythm of hope. She forced her frozen, exhausted body forward.
By the time she drew near enough to see dim lights through the window of the nearest house, she felt ready to drop. It took her muddled brain a few moments to realize the house was no longer getting closer. She had, in fact, dropped to her knees, and as her vision blurred, she barely caught sight of a figure racing towards her as she fell face first in the snow. Damn it all, she had been so close, so close to survival....
Continuation of Chapter 1:
Takayuki paced restlessly through the safe house, a habit he had grown used to over the last year. He couldn't risk being outside for long, but he was starting to feel claustrophobic. The house wasn't all that big, but it was roomy enough; enough that it wouldn't be hard to mount a strong defense should the need arise. So far, he had been lucky, as had the rest of his team. It didn't help his case any that he wasn't used to staying in one place for that long of a time, and uneasiness was starting to settle in, bad.
Add a freak blizzard on top of it all, and he was having a down right shitty day. How much longer did he and the rest of the unit have to stay in hiding, and what the hell had happened to Belladonna? She had never made it to her safe house, and they couldn't help but wonder if she was even alive anymore. She had gotten them all out, but had she made it? Not knowing was driving him insane, and it didn't help that he didn't even know what the hell she looked like. She had made sure of that.
None of them knew who she really was. All they knew her as was Belladonna. When the unit had been ambushed by Vaygr and his horde of mercenaries, she had been the one to organize their escape. They were to wait a certain amount of time and she would contact them via a secured line. The call never came. And damn it, that really pissed him off. The only thing he could think of was that something had gone seriously wrong during the escape.
"I'm telling you, Wolf," he growled into his cellphone, "I'm starting to go crazy. I don't know how much more of this I can take."
"You aren't the only one, brother," the man on the other end replied. "Everyone is starting to get antsy. Been in one place for too long."
"Has anyone heard anything from Belladonna?" He asked as he crossed over to the window for the twentieth time today.
"No, but Wanderous found something interesting yesterday," Wolf said guardedly.
"What did she find?"
"A year ago, Belladonna's safe house was unlocked, accessed for two minutes tops, and resealed."
Taka froze, his hand on the curtain. How the hell could they all have missed that? "You're sure about this?" He carefully pulled the curtain away from the window a fraction.
"Yeah, man, and Arux confirmed it. I'm sending you the file."
Taka caught movement in his peripheral vision, and turned his attention to someone slowly moving through the snow. He watched for a moment, then moved away from the window. "Wolf, I'll call you back."
"You need backup?"
"Not yet. I'll let you know." He closed his cellphone, made sure he was armed and grabbed his coat. He made it out the door just in time to see the person fall to their knees, then face plant into the snow as he dove off the small porch. He slid to his knees beside them, and flipped the body over. "Are you fucking insane? What the hell are you doing out here?"
Even as he shouted at the person, he lifted them into his arms and rushed back to the house. They barely weighed a thing, and he judged the person to possibly be in their teens. He shook his head at the stupidity of the situation, and slammed the door shut with his foot. Damn it all, this is just what he needed. More damned complications. He set the stranger on the couch, and moved over to the wall to jack the heat up. Grabbing some clothes and several blankets he moved back to the couch. Quickly he started yanking off the soaked clothing, and muffler, and almost swore when he realized it was a girl.
"My god woman, you really must be insane," he said as he pulled off the rest of the soaked clothing and replaced it with over sized sweat pants and shirt, and covered her with the blankets. She was shaking horribly, and her lips were tinted blue. Not good. Oh yeah, now it was going to be a really long night. Son of a bitch. Just his freaking luck.
Chapter 2: Convergence
While he stuffed the rest of his guns and knives into the bag with one hand, he used his other to punch in another number. Damn it, if something happened to the little shit, he was going to personally kick his ass. But for now, he was going to need to get everyone else here, and it had to be fast. If Taka called, he wanted to make sure that they could move in not too long after. As he waited for The Rock to pick up he grabbed the duffel and wandered back into the living room, tossing the heavy bag onto the slightly worn couch.
"Now, why would the Wolf-man be calling the Great One?" Rock asked as soon as the line connected. Wolf could hear loud music blaring in the background. That was nothing new.
"We might have a situation at Taka's," he stated flatly. The music was cut off abruptly, "I want you and the others here, yesterday."
"I'm on it. Bazooka is already making calls," Rock said quickly, all business now.
"Rock," Wolf said. "Bring The Tumblers."
"Man, like you even gotta ask," he said and cut the connection.
He didn't know what the hell was going on, but he was going to make damn sure they were ready. Too much shit had gone wrong for them already, and he knew damned well they didn't want anymore. He sighed and started packing the rest of his gear. He was in the process of stuffing his laptop in its case when his phone started ringing. He looked at the view screen, and shook his head, smiling. It was just like Wanderous, always on top of the ball. Pain in the ass. He answered the call.
"Damn, Gadget, can't a man have some privacy?" He asked, laughing.
"Aw, but its so much fun to watch you guys being all pervy," came her cheery reply.
"Ha! You only wish we were," he said, stuffing the laptop in its bag.
"Then never spend the night at Rock and Lal's. I could make a fortune off that crap," she countered.
"Gadget, I do NOT want to know."
"Anyway, why the sudden packing of all your precious toys?" She asked seriously.
"Possible situation at Taka's. You got any of your little spy cams at his place?" Knowing her, yeah, she did.
"Nah, he found them all, so did Angel and Maia. We'll be at your place in twenty, Wolf-nii." The line went dead.
"Yeah, I'll see you then," he said as he closed his cell phone.
He moved over to the window and pulled the blinds back, watching the snow as it continued to pile up on the ground. Had it really been one year ago that he and the rest of his team had been locked away in cages like lab rats? He was covered in a mass amount of scars from endless days of nightmarish torture. They all were. He pressed his fingers to his eyes, fighting back a sudden rising headache. What the hell was going on? And who did they have to kill now?
His hands balled into tight fists as their hated enemies face came to mind. Someday, they were gonna catch that bastard, and he was going to enjoy every moment of his slow, painful death. He caught sight of an ATV as it plowed its way through the snow to his safe house and he shook his head. Twenty minutes my ass, he thought as he grinned. He crossed over to the door and shut down the alarm system as the ATV cut its powerful engine. Wanderous and Orcra jumped down and headed for the door.
Continuation of Chapter 2:
With the calls sent out to the rest of the team the clock was ticking, and it seemed to be taking forever for their gear to be packed. Oh wait, Rock thought as he quickly dodged an airborne combat boot, it was. He looked back over at his wife, who's butt was currently hanging out of their bedroom closet, and his eyebrow shot up. Under normal circumstances he would just stand there and enjoy the view, and more, but they sadly didn't have the time. They needed to go pick up Angel and Maia.
"Um, Lal, honey, what are you looking for?" He asked, ducking as a second boot went sailing through the air.
Lal turned to look back at him, a frown on her face. "I can't find my bazooka." She dove back into the closet with determination.
Rock closed his eyes and dropped his face into his palm. "Lal, the bazooka is already in The Tumbler."
"What!?" She came tumbling out of the closet, pulling a sock off her head. "When did you put it there?"
"A few days ago," he stated, grinning at the indignant look on her face. "I didn't want anything to happen to it. I know how much you love that thing."
She smiled at him and blew him a kiss as she crossed over to the bed and started carefully packing her explosives. Despite the possibility of this new threat, she was still her normal bouncy self, and that was a major relief. After everything that had been done to the team by Vaygr, he had been worried. She hadn't said much of anything to anyone for quite a while. He knew that behind all that energy she displayed, she was as tense as hell. Couldn't really blame her.
"You're right, its my favorite one of all," she said as she closed the duffel bag. "After all, you were the one who got it for me."
Lal tossed her bag over to Rock, who in turn grabbed up his own, and they both headed for the living room. She took one last look around the room, still not quite sure she had everything, but nothing came to mind. She grabbed up the keys to The Tumbler and followed Rock to the door. Too bad they didn't have a bit more time, she thought as she stared at his ass. Shaking her head, she punched in the code on the alarm system to reset it as they walked out the door.
Once the gear was stowed they climbed into the ATV. The engine roared to life and they pulled out and made their way easily through the snow towards Angel and Maia's place. Still keeping his eyes on the road Rock reached over and flipped a switch. Instantly loud music blared through the heavy speaker system. Lal grinned and put her feet up on the dash board, her head bouncing in time with the music. She was seriously hoping that there was nothing wrong, but somehow, she had a feeling her wish wasn't going to come true. It was just their luck that when something happened, it was big. That's just the way it was.
Chapter 3: The Meeting
They had all gone through hell together, and thanks to one woman, Belladonna, they had made it out alive, and mostly in one piece. It went without question that some of them had gone a little crazy during that time, but, hey, when you go through that much torture for that long, it was bound to happen. At least they had gotten out. And now, the shit was hitting the fan again. Bert tossed something at him, and he caught it, grinning as he recognized one of his gun clips. The little bastard.
"Thats where it went," he said. "You shit head!"
"Hey, don't look at me man," Bert said with a big grin. "You were the one who left it sitting around. Besides, it was hella funny watching you trash the place trying to find it."
"Remind me to kick your ass later," Arux said, laughing.
"You can try, snipey, you can try," Bert teased him.
"Now I'm really gonna kick your ass."
They both laughed uproariously as they grabbed up their bags, and bolted for the door. They pushed and shoved at eachother, each one trying to get out the door first. Bert was the victorious one. Arux glared jokingly at him as he reset the alarm system and locked the place up. Bert was climbing into the Tumbler as Arux tossed his duffel in, then carefully stowed his rifle in one of the weapon caches. The Tumbler roared to life and they started heading over to Wolf's. Their moods grew heavier and heavier as they drew closer to the safe house.
"Yo, Arux, you think its Vaygr?" Bert asked suddenly. "Think he and his followers have finally found us?"
Arux frowned, and shook his head. "I don't know, but considering he's former military, its possible. Still pisses me off that he and his team went rogue."
"Yeah, well, pisses me off even more that the bastard had the gall to ambush our team," Bert said acidly. "I don't know what the fuck that man is thinking."
"No one does, Horn, no one does," Arux said, and grew quiet as they pulled up to Wolf's safe house.
Orcraniil set up Wanderous's laptop, knowing she was going to send out some of her little toys to see if she could get a look at Taka's place, and asses the situation. She was out at the Tumbler, quickly and accurately programming some small hover cams, and pulled out her com. She gave the ready signal to Orcra, and watched as the cams lit up and hovered. She ran a quick scan over them, to make sure they were properly functioning and let them flow outside. Well curse it all! The damn things were instantly blown to the ground by the powerful wind gusts.
She sighed, and quickly picked them up before they could get damaged too heavily by the elements and being battered along the ground. She sealed up the Tumbler and looked up in time to see a second ATV plowing its way thorugh the snow. Judging by the driving, it had to be Bert and Arux. She waved and headed inside, shaking the snow from her jacket. Orcra looked up at his wife and frowned when he caught sight of the cams in her hand. Damn, hadn't worked. They had been hoping that the hover cams would be able to make it through the storm, but the blizzard was too strong.
"Its alright, sweetheart, you tried," he said, trying to sooth her.
"And this is why I installed cams in all of the safe houses," she muttered iratably. "We have no clue whats going on over there."
Orcra ruffled her hair and smiled. "Well, next time, hide them better."
"As if that would work," she said as Bert and Arux burst in with a blast of cold air. "I did that with Angel and Maia's place, but they found them all."
"Yeah, well, they're pretty thurough when it comes to that kind of thing," Orcra said. "They're good at what they do."
"We all are!" Bert piped up, then turned to Wanderous. "You tellin me, Gadget, that you put your little spy bots in our houses? What kinda kinky shit you into, girl?"
Wanderous grinned at him, saluted, and sat down behind her laptop. "Its all a part of my master plan, Bert."
"What plan is that?"
"One that makes us rich, of course," came her sassy reply.
"Orcra, you got one interesting wife." Bert said.
"Yes, yes I do," he replied sitting down next to Wanderous who was clicking away on the laptop.
Continuation of Chapter 3:
The blizzard was still showing no signs of slackening, the wind a continual howl of rage against the windows of a small cabin tucked back in a large grove of trees on the edge of town. The compact structure was cleverly camouflaged, effectively hiding it from view unless one were right up on it and knew what they were looking for. The woodwork creaked and groaned under the onslaught, but the build was sturdy and held against the fury of the sudden storm. Snow was building around it slightly, but for the most part, it was protected by the trees, so it didn't get hit as badly as anything out in the open.
One of the curtains fluttered just the tiniest bit and then settled as if it had never moved. Inside the cabin two duffel bags lay open on the floor, a few of the weapons visible in the flickering light provided by a single candle burning away in its holder set up on a low coffee table. The interior was set up fairly simple and modest, yet still managed to look somewhat cozy with the variety of small plants around the room and furniture. A dark haired woman stepped silently away from the window, reached for one of the katanas lying near the candle, and quickly attached it to her hip.
She grabbed up the second one and smiled. "Hey, Angel, catch." She tossed the blade carefully through the air at the man tucking more weapons into one of the duffel bags, his back to her.
His hand shot out and caught it easily. "Testing me again, Maia?" He asked, turning around to face his wife.
She grinned cheekily at him. "Just making sure you're on the ball, my love," she said, biting back laughter.
"Hm, I see," he said quietly, smiling. "Shall I prove to you just how 'on the ball' I really am?" He took a step towards her.
"Oh, all the possibilities that come to mind," she answered as she attached a choker, which had a garrotte wire cleverly sewn into the material, around her throat. God, he loved that thing.
"I think I'll make you wait for it," he stated, turning back to the duffel bags. "So, are you ready, babe? Got everything you need?"
"As far as I know, yes," she said, sticking her tongue out at him.
She moved over to the coffee table as he sealed up the bags and snuffed the candle with her palm, plunging the cabin into semi darkness. The sound of one of the Tumblers' massive engines as it pulled up had them grabbing up their gear and heading for the door. She looked back at him and smiled as she watched him reset the alarm system and follow her. Oh yeah, she was just as game for this as he was. Too much time being cooped up in the small cottage safe house had them both restless, though they had found very...interesting ways to amuse themselves, but not knowing the situation they were going to be walking into just made them edgy.
"Yo! Starboy, Shadow, hows it hangin'?" Rock asked as they stepped out into the blistering cold.
"Its about time you showed up, oh Great One," Maia said with a soft chuckle. "We almost had to wait."
Angel laughed at Rock's slightly pouting face as he tossed their gear to Lal, who added it to the pile of duffel bags in the cargo hold. He grabbed Maia around her waist and pulled her into the ATV with him, grinning at her little squeak of surprise. Turnabout was fair play, as far as he was concerned. He set her gently down in one of the seats as Lal climbed back up front with Rock, and he sat down next to her, wrapping his arm around her shoulders. Rock sealed the hatch and climbed behind the wheel. Maia leaned into Angel and smiled at the couple in the front.
"That would be Bazooka's fault," Rock said as he turned the Tumbler around and headed for Wolf's. "She couldn't find her toys."
"Well, its your fault for not telling me you put it in here," Lal pouted, thumping Rocks seat with her foot.
Angel shook his head and Maia just laughed. "What were you looking for, Bazooka," he asked.
"My bazooka." Both Angel and Maia face palmed.
Chapter 4: Found
He took a step towards her, but stopped when she shrank away from him into the couch, if possible her eyes growing wider with terror. What the hell? He let out a sigh and ran his hand through his hair in agitation, then let them fall back to his sides. He took note of the fact that she watched his every move, and that made him even more curious. He backed away again, keeping his hands loose at his sides, not wanting to show any sign of aggression. She looked like a terrified kitten ready to bolt at any moment.
“Just relax, lady, I just want to make sure that you don’t have a fever. I don’t know how long you were out in that storm, but you weren’t looking so good when I found you,” he said in a low tone, trying to keep her calm. “Will you let me do that?”
She looked around almost wildly at her surroundings, then, settled her frightened gaze back on him. When she just shook her head furiously at him, he sighed. “Then at least let me make you something warm to drink.”
He turned away from her and strode into the kitchen to put the water on to boil. Damn, she looked at him like he was some kind of monster just waiting for the right moment to strike, and for some reason, that really bothered him. What could have happened to make her brave the storm, and on foot no less, like that? He pulled a mug from the cupboard as the water began to boil, tossed in a bag of tea, and headed back towards the living room. He stopped in his tracks in the doorway, completely shocked.
Annabelle froze in the middle of struggling on her second boot and stared at the man standing in the kitchen doorway with mounting terror. Her heart started pounding out a rhythm of fear and her mouth went dry as he silently moved towards the coffee table and set the mug he was holding down with a slight thud. She tried to scramble away from him as he picked her up, a whisper of a scream forced from her throat, but he just plunked her down on the couch, and pressed the mug into her hands.
Continuation of Chapter 4:
After removing her boots again he stepped away from her to lean against an old looking fireplace, his arms crossed over his chest. She relaxed just a tiny bit, and looked around again. There had to be some way out of here, some way to get away from this stranger who seemed determined to hold her prisoner. Did he work for Vaygr? Who was he? He was still staring at her, a frown on his face, so she took a cautious sip of the tea, just to placate him.
“Why did you do it?” He suddenly asked. “Did you have a death wish, going out in a storm like this?”
She hesitated, looking down into her mug, trying to think of what she should say. “I had no choice. I have to find them before I’m captured again. So please,” she said, looking up at him with pleading eyes, grateful her sore throat let her speak in a raspy voice, “just let me go! I don’t want anyone else killed because of me, and if I’m found here with you, you will be killed. My welfare is none of your concern!”
“Quite frankly, lady, I don’t give a damn if it’s my concern or not,” he said angrily. “I don’t want your death on my hands for letting you back out there.”
“Quite frankly, sir, I don’t give a damn,” she rasped, throwing his words back at him. “It’s my choice to make, not yours.”
“Then at least tell me who you are looking for and maybe I can make some calls to help you find them, and when the storm clears, I’ll let you walk out of here, no problem.”
She hesitated again, unsure whether or not to say anything. Hell with it, the least that could happen is he would kill her, right? “It’s a group of people, soldiers, and they’re the only ones who can help me.”
Taka froze for the second time today and just stared at her. No way. Was it possible? “What are the names?”
Again, the woman hesitated. Good, meant she didn’t trust him. At least for now, that is. “I only know one name, the others are call signs. Takayuki, Wolf, Ar-.”
“Holy shit,” he said, cutting her off as he whipped out his cell phone and punched in Wolf’s number.
“Wai-,” she tried again, starting to panic.
“Talk to me, man, what the hell is going on?” Wolf asked, worry edging his tone.
“I found her,” Taka said, grinning. “Well, more like she found me.”
“Wait, are you talking about who I think you’re talking about?” Wolf asked, hope creeping into his voice.
“The one and only,” Taka answered. “Get everyone and get over here, fast, she’s likely got a tail.”
“No problem, everyone is here already,” Wolf told him irritably. “We were going to bust in there, guns blazing to save your ass. We’ll be there in fifteen. “
“You bastard,” her raspy voice screamed at him painfully as she tried to scramble off the couch. “I should have known you work for that bastard, Vaygr!”
“Calm down, Belladonna,” he said, grabbing her around the waist in mid leap. “I don’t work for that piece of shit, and never will. I’m Takayuki, and the rest of the team is on the way.”
Anna stopped fighting him, and just stared mutely for the longest time before she broke down into tears. “Taka, thank god!”
Chapter 5: Reunion
Bert had taken up the recliner and was currently laying back, one hand behind his head with his eyes closed. Though he looked relaxed, he was far from it. Rock and Lal shared the small couch, their low voices blending with the wind as they talked. Wanderous and Orcra were still sitting by the laptop going over schematics of some sort, but they looked up as Wolf walked into the room. He didn’t look happy, and that was not a good sign. It took a lot to get the Wolf-man upset, which meant the situation was pretty grim.
“Approximately two hours ago I contacted Taka to update him on what both Gadget and Arux found at Belladonna’s safe house,” he began in a low tone. “Part of the way into the conversation he got real quiet, but not like his usual, then, out of the blue told me he would call me back, and just the way he said it threw me off. I asked him if he needed back-up but he said not yet, and he would call.”
“So there hasn’t been further contact?” Bert asked, sitting up.
“None,” Wolf confirmed.
“What about your spy cams, Gadget? Get anything from those?” Arux asked Wanderous.
She shook her head slowly. “No, he found them and dismantled them, just like some others I know,” she said, pretending to glare at Angel and Maia, who, in turn, just grinned at her.
“So, my question is: Why aren’t we moving in to save his candy ass?” Rock asked, leaning forward on the couch.
“Two reasons,” Angel said. “One, we needed the entire team here, and two, we need a plan because we’re pretty much walking in blind.”
“We have no idea what we’re up against,” Maia agreed, “and for all we know, we could be walking right into a trap.”
“Wanderous has the layouts of each of the safe houses on her laptop,” Orcra began, “so that will go a long way in helping us infiltrate, if it comes down to it.”
At that moment, Wolf’s phone rang and all eyes turned to him as he answered. “Talk to me, man, what the hell is going on?” He paused. “Wait, are you talking about who I think you’re talking about?” He asked, hope creeping into his voice.” Again, he was silent. “No problem, everyone is here already,” Wolf said irritably. “We were going to bust in there, guns blazing to save your ass. We’ll be there in fifteen. “
Everyone watched him anxiously as he closed his cell phone and turned his attention back to them. “Let’s move out! Belladonna has been found, and she’s being followed.”
The drive over to Taka’s wasn’t that long, but to everyone, it seemed the longest they had ever taken. Mixed emotions spread throughout the team: joy, relief, and fear. Finally she had been found, but now, there was a new threat. They had to get there, and get them out before her tail had time to catch up to them. They grew tenser than ever as all three Tumblers pulled to a stop in front of Taka’s, and piled out with weapons drawn as they moved as a unit up to the door. Wolf tapped on the door with a specialized series of knocks and waited with baited breath until Taka opened the door.
Continuation of Chapter 5
As they all piled in through the door, a woman wrapped in a heavy blanket to ward off the sudden chill stood up from the couch, watching them closely with a mixture of fear and relief. Wolf talked quietly with Taka while the others all took off jackets and tossed them to the side. Belladonna found herself surrounded and being pulled into hug after hug from each member of the team before Wolf stepped up, and shooed them all off. He smiled at her and pulled her in for one last hug before he ruffled her hair and held her back at arm’s length.
“Damn, Belladonna, what the hell happened to you? When you didn’t show up at your safe house, we all feared the worst.” He asked as everyone found somewhere to perch. As usual, Wanderous plugged in her laptop and booted up.
Taka took a seat on the couch and was shocked when Anna sat next to him, tucking her feet back under the blanket. He wrapped his arm around her and looked up in time to see everyone grinning at him like idiots. He glared and flipped them off, only to be rewarded with muffled chuckles. They all watched as Anna’s face grew solemn, and worry filled the small space of Taka’s living room. This wasn’t going to be good; they could see it on her face. It was an all too familiar look to each of them. They just hoped that she hadn’t ended up like them, but that was likely not the case. Not with that look on her face.
Anna let out a sigh, and started in with what had happened a year ago. “After I got you guys out, I went to my designated safe house, but I wasn’t alone. I had enough time to unlock the door before I was grabbed from behind and hit over the head.” She shuddered at the memory of waking up, and she felt Taka’s arm tighten with anger. “When I woke up, I was in one of the cages.”
“Oh shit, no,” Lal said, her hands balling into tight fists. “Damn it.”
“I don’t remember what all they did to me, but I know it wasn’t good. Two months ago, Vaygr and his team decided that it was time to change locations, you guys know what that means,” she continued. Oh yeah, they remembered. “I was tied up and loaded into one of the SUVs, blindfolded and gagged. I don’t know how long we had been traveling, but suddenly we were broadsided. We flipped so many times I lost count, but when we stopped rolling, I could see again.”
“I’m amazed you survived it,” Angel said, rubbing his chin in thought.
“I can honestly say that I am too. There were too many people starting to surround the SUV, so Vaygr had to leave me behind and keep going. Someone caught sight of me and pulled me out, untied me, and sat me down on the curb while they checked the others. I managed to sneak away and make it to a phone to call my contact. She picked me up, got me cleaned up, and I’ve been on the run since. Vaygr sent two member of his own unit after me, but I have been able to stay under the radar.” She closed her eyes, tears falling down her cheeks. “They got my contact, though. She’s dead.”
Maia looked up sharply, a frown on her lips. “Which means, they know where we are now,” she said, her tone firm.
“We gotta move! The alarms in all the safe houses have been triggered! We don’t have a lot of time!” Wanderous shouted, powering down the laptop. Everyone sprang into action.
Chapter 6: Suppressive Fire
“My boot,” she hollered at him, smacking his shoulder blade with her palm.
“No time,” he replied, ignoring the tap.
“But my foot is going to freeze,” she protested.
“I got your boot, Belladonna, don’t worry.” Arux said grinning at her indignant look. “You know, she’s pretty cute when she’s mad.” His grin got bigger as he caught Taka’s glare.
The team made a tight ring around Bert and Anna as she was transported to the first Tumbler, rifles and pistols alike sweeping the area for any threat. Wanderous opened the hatch and quickly climbed in, followed by Taka and Orcra. Anna and her stray boot were handed gently up to Taka and the rest of the team made a mad dash for the other two Tumblers. Wolf joined up with Bert and Arux, sealed the hatch and started breaking out the weapons and ammo.
“You guys in?” Rock asked as he revved up the engine of the third Tumbler.
“Yeah, we’re in,” Angel answered as he closed the hatch behind Maia.
“Alright, let’s move out,” Wanderous called over the comm. system.
The three ATVs plowed their way through the snow covered streets, the roar of the massive engines echoing off the houses as they passed by. The sound of clips locking into place and bullets being chambered filled the interior of each Tumbler as they prepared themselves for immanent attack. Snow covered trees passed them by as they drove quickly out of the little town they had been hiding in for the last year. Ear buds were passed out and linked up, providing as much communication distance as they could should they have to split up.
“We’ve got company,” Lal shouted through the comm., and the Tumblers spread out, giving each other room for combat maneuvers.
Snow mobiles, SUVs, and heavy trucks fanned out behind them, forming a loose semi-circle around them as bullets flew through the air and bounced off the heavily armored ATVs. Wanderous took up the weapons system, and let loose several spiked chains that disappeared into the snow, just waiting for its first victim. Arux opened one of the back ports and started picking out open targets with his rifle, while Wolf took out one of the drivers in an SUV, sending it into a roll. Maia had her eye on one of the snow mobiles and she grinned, moving away from the hatch she was firing from to one of the side ports as it moved closer. Lal aimed her bazooka at one of the big trucks and fired, but the truck swerved to the side, though the missile hit the snowmobile behind it.
Bullets continued to bounce off the ATVs, Vaygr’s crew trying to force the three vehicles to stop. Taka climbed into the top hub and started peppering the SUVs with the turret. One of the trucks wheels caught on Wanderous’ spiked chains and spun out of control before flipping over, landing on its roof with a loud crunch of metal and snow. Angel chose his targets carefully, aiming for the drivers of the SUVs, trying to take them out with single shots. Two SUV’s careened into each other as his shots killed the drivers. Maia opened the side hatch as the snow mobile caught up and Angel spun around as she swung out, her foot connecting with the driver’s jaw, sending him sprawling into the snow.
“Maia,” he shouted in terror, running for the side hatch. He saw her land on the snow mobile and take control of it. “The hell are you doing?”
“Throw me a line and some sticky bombs,” she called out to him, keeping pace with the Tumbler.
Lal provided cover fire, trying to keep Maia from getting hit when she caught sight of one of the SUVs rushing right at them. “Look out!”
As Wanderous sent a volley of rockets from the side mounts, Orcra kept a lookout in his portside mirrors. “Taka, you got one on your left side!”
“I got it,” Taka called back, bullets smashing through the windows of the SUV.
Arux took out another truck and Wolf ducked down as bullets managed to bounce off the Tumbler close to him, then jumped back up and fired again. “Damn, how many of them we got back there?” Bert shouted back at them.
“Oh just a dozen or so,” Arux replied.
Angel jumped onto the snow mobile behind Maia and opened fire at the SUV bearing down on them. The vehicle swerved and his shots missed. He caught sight of who was behind the wheel and he swore. Damn, so Vaygr had sent Dubbywubby and Jabberwocky after them. How many more of his team had he sent? He relayed his findings to the rest of his team as he fired again, this time aiming for the chained tires, forcing Dubbywubby to slam on the brakes as the front tire popped, sending the SUV spinning wildly. With a smirk he scooted Maia back, dropping the sticky bombs into her lap, and took control of the snow mobile.
“Let’s do this, babe,” he said as he spun them around and raced forward.
“You crazy sons of bitches, what the hell are you doing?” Taka shouted at them through the comm.
“Evening out the odds,” Angel said calmly as two SUVs raced by them. Maia slapped the sticky bombs onto each of them as they passed. “Give us some cover fire, keep those snow mobiles off us.”
“I swear, the two of you are insane,” Wolf muttered as he opened fire; the rest of the team following suit. He saw them tag several more SUVs before he caught on to what they were doing. “Orcra, they’re using your sticky bombs, get ready to detonate.”
“I see that,” Orcra said, grabbing up his remote trigger.
“I didn’t know you still had those, Orcra,” Bert said through the comm., grinning as he kept the Tumbler under control. “I love those things!”
“Tell me when you two are clear,” Orcra told Angel.
“We’re clear,” Angel said, racing back for the Tumbler as Lal provided cover.
Chapter 7: The Fire Continues
“Hot damn, those things pack one hell of a punch,” Rock shouted when he regained control of his Tumbler.
“Christ, Orcra, what the hell did you pack in those things?” Taka asked as he straightened and resumed fire at what remained of Vaygr’s pursuit squad. “Those ones are a lot stronger than the last batch.”
“Higher concentration in a smaller package,” was Orcra’s reply, which meant he wasn’t saying shit about it. “Is everyone alright?”
“I’m good,” Wolf said, picking off one of the last snow mobiles with a well aimed shot.
“Same,” Arux said as he pushed himself back onto his feet.
“Oh, I’m just freaking peachy now that I’m not being thrown all over the place,” Lal said irritably.
“I’m good, but Shadow took a hit,” Angel growled as he lined the snow mobile up next to the Tumbler. “Great One, hold it steady so Bazooka can pull her in."
“Shit, Horn, pull around so we can give them cross cover,” Wanderous said worriedly.
“Give me a gun,” Anna said. She was really pissed off. “I’ll help cover.”
“Take mine,” Taka called down to her.
Bert dropped back just enough that he could swing around to the other side of Rock. The remaining trucks and SUVs took that moment to move back into formation, and they fired back with a vengeance. Lal had strapped on a harness and locked herself down to give herself more leverage as she leaned out and reached for Maia’s outstretched hand. Several bullets ricocheted off the back of the snow mobile but Arux took the shooter out with a shot to the throat with his Barrett M107, and the others continued to rain bullets down on Vaygr’s little posse.
“Great One, bring it to the right just a bit more,” Bert said, watching them closely. “Bazooka can’t reach her, and Starboy needs to keep steady.”
“I got it,” Rock replied, sliding the Tumbler to the right a bit.
“I got her,” Lal yelled as she caught hold of Maia’s hand.
“They’re coming in for another shot,” Wolf called. “Get her in now!”
As Maia was hauled back into the Tumbler, Wolf, Arux, Anna and Taka resumed fire, bullets thudding into metal; the attack so ferocious it forced Vaygr’s mercs to fall back again. Lal reached out and caught Angel’s arm as he jumped from the snow mobile, which instantly lost control, spinning backwards through the snow. Anna spotted it and fired at the gas tank just as one of the trucks was closing in on it. The snow mobile exploded, taking out the truck with it, in a ball of flame.
“Let me see it, Shadow,” Lal said as she moved in behind Maia.
“It’s nothing, it just grazed my shoulder,” Maia said calmly as she grabbed up her gun.
“Grazed you my ass, Maia,” Angel bit out through clenched teeth. “That thing damn near took you out.”
“Guys, I hate to interrupt the chat, but we’re still getting hammered,” Wanderous said. “Drop the claymores.”
All three ATVs dropped a battery of live claymores into the snow from their pods; the bombs ready and waiting. They sped up, trying to put as much distance between them and the coming blast. The five remaining pursuit vehicles rolled unaware into the small mine field, and were completely decimated by Wanderous’s little trap of fun. The three Tumblers roared on, leaving behind a scene of total devastation. Only one vehicle made it out of the chaos, and they limped carefully back to the town to fix the flattened tire, also, to report their loss to Vaygr. Dubbywubby and Jabberwocky were not, by any means, happy campers.
Chapter 8: Base of Operations
“No,” Taka said, sliding down from the turret hub, “they weren’t expecting Gadget’s toys and those two psychos to get that hair brained idea of using sticky bombs.”
“How is Shadow?” Annabelle asked over the comm. as she handed the gun back to Taka.
“She’s banged up good,” Lal said as she pulled Maia’s shirt over her shoulder, revealing the bloody wound. “Got herself a pretty little cut, but, she’ll live.” She poured a vial of burning antiseptic ointment liberally over the gash.
“Holy mother fucker!” Maia would have sprang up from her prone position across the seats had it not been for Angel’s hand on the small of her back pinning her down.
“Yeah, we can hear that,” Bert said through his laughter.
“Shut it, Horn, or I’m going to shove my katana up your ass,” Maia shouted at the comm., clenching her teeth against the pain.
“Down, girl,” Wanderous said with a grin. “You don’t know where that ass has been sitting.”
“Hey, I represent that.” Bert said on a fake sob. “I-I mean resent! I resent that!”
“Alright, that’s enough,” Wolf said over the rounds of laughter, fighting back his own. Someone here had to have a shred of logic. “We need to find ourselves a new hidey hole.”
“Wolf-nii,” Wanderous began, “what about that old abandoned mansion we used to play in as kids? No one knows about it, and it would provide the shelter we need. Plus, we can set up some training grounds to keep us active.”
Wolf thought about it for a moment. “That’s a good idea, but it will take us about three or four days to get there from here and that isn’t including traffic and anything else that could happen.”
“So long as we get there, and provided we don’t get anymore surprise attacks, it doesn’t matter how long it takes,” Orcra said. “We have plenty of fuel in the storage compartments of each Tumbler.”
“We can drive in shifts,” Rock suggested. “That way, we won’t have to make any unnecessary stops. We just need Gadget or Wolf to program the coordinates into the GPS’s one the Tumblers.”
“That’s a good idea, Great One,” Wanderous said. “I’m transferring the data to you guys now.”
“So, what are we going to do when we get there?” Arux asked. “We can’t contact the General; he doesn’t even know we’re alive.”
“Yes, he does,” Anna said softly.
There was total silence, save for the roar of the engines, and three pairs of eyes locked onto Anna, who was staring at her feet. No one could believe what they had just heard. If the General knew they were alive, why had there been no reinforcements? It wouldn’t have been that difficult to send troops after his lost unit. After all, he would have known their location. That thought had Wanderous out of her seat and standing in front of Anna, who still had not dared to look up. Taka stood up, but he made no move as he silently watched the two of them.
“How long has General Kuroii known we’re alive?” She demanded.
Anna finally looked up, her eyes reflecting her inner turmoil. “He had known since I found all of you in the cages, but there was nothing he could do, save for secretly letting me have that small rescue squad.” She looked away from the waves of anger radiating off of Wanderous. “He has been under surveillance ever since Vaygr and his unit went rogue. President Grumpy believes that General Kuroii was behind the defection.”
“So, how did you get mixed up with Vaygr?” Bert asked over the comm. He stared out the windshield, his hands gripping the steering wheel so tightly his knuckles had turned white.
“I was sent in undercover by General Kuroii to investigate what Vaygr was up to. I was also supposed to gather proof that the General had nothing to do with their actions.” She looked up again, this time at Taka. “Then I found all of you.”
“Did you find the proof that you needed?” Taka asked quietly as he sat back down next to her.
Anna pulled her necklace off, opened the back, and pulled a small data chip. “All the information the General needs is on this chip.” She paused for a moment, then, looked back up. “I also found out who really was behind it. The whole thing goes deeper than any of you know.”
Chapter 9: The Mansion
They had questioned Anna further, but she had made it clear that she wasn’t going to say anything else until all of them could review the information on the chip. The biggest question on their minds, though, was what had the General done to warrant President Grumpy’s distrust? He had always performed his duties faithfully, granted sometimes it was a bit unorthodox, but it got the job done. As Anna had said, the rabbit hole went deeper than they had originally believed and that was going to make life really interesting.
As evening settled once more they noticed an increase in the trees surrounding them. There wasn’t much snow in this area, as the climate was warmer, so road navigation was easier. Wanderous was driving the lead Tumbler, Wolf in the second, while Angel had control of the third, and she turned left down an old, barely used dirt road that led them into denser forest. The last rays of sunlight filtered through the branches, weaving intricate patterns over the ground as they rumbled their way slowly through the trees. After about half an hour the mansion finally loomed ahead.
“Hey guys, we made it, our new safe house is just ahead,” Wanderous said with excitement.
“Wow, Gadget, make it sound a little more like a cheesy movie, why don’t you?” Bert called over the comm.
“Stuff it, Horn,” she said, pouting.
“Good job, lil’ sis,” Wolf said.
They pulled around the large three-tiered fountain and came to a stop in front of the mansion. The roar of the engines died as they were shut down and everyone piled out, stretching sore muscles as they took a look around. The mansion was old alright, parts of the roof caved in, and several windows broken here and there. The paint was faded, but overall the place would have to do. It would take a bit of work but they would be able to fix it up eventually. Their biggest concern would be power, and supplies. Rock looked up and shook his head.
“You know, didn’t you guys ever watch those old horror movies where some people went to stay in an old abandoned mansion and got themselves killed?” He asked with a grin.
“Oh, ha ha, very funny, Great One, like that shit would ever happen,” Arux said returning the grin.
“Well,” Bert said looking over the mansion, “this is a fine dump of a place if I ever saw one. Ouch! Damn, Gadget that was my shin!”
Wanderous dropped her foot back to the ground and pretended to glare at him. “Well, then, don’t be insulting my mansion. I think it’s lovely.”
“You always did, sis,” Wolf commented as he started pulling gear and duffel bags from the Tumblers. “You remember where the power grid is located?”
“Yep! I’ll see if I can’t get this place up and running,” she answered, grabbing up her tools. She took off at a jog towards the side of the mansion.
“Damn it, Wanderous, you aren’t going alone!” Orcra yelled and ran after her. After a moment they were both lost to sight.
“Rock, you and Lal get in there and secure the foyer. I want that front door opened without further damage to it,” Taka said. “The rest of you, let’s get these tumblers unloaded.”
By time they got the three ATVs unpacked and the gear inside, Wanderous and Orcra had the power up and running. Aside from leaves, a thick layer of dust, and some water logged wood on all of the floors, the interior didn’t look as bad as it did on the outside. They chased off a few birds and started covering the windows on the first floor with anything they could find. They would sleep in what appeared to be the den that night and get to work on repairs the next morning. With a fire going they settled down for the night, exhaustion taking over, leaving two of them awake for first watch.
“What the hell do you mean you lost them?” Vaygr growled into his cell phone.
“I mean we lost the trail, Vaygr,” Jabberwocky explained for the second time. “Don’t know how they managed it, but they’re gone.”
“You had better get your asses back out there and find them,” Vaygr said angrily. “That bitch still has the micro-chip and the boss wants it back. It could expose everything.”
“We’re still looking,” Jabber said irritably. “We’ll report back when we’ve found the trail again.”
“Yeah, you do that,” Vaygr said as he snapped the cell phone shut. “Damn it you bastards.” The boss was not going to be happy about this.
Chapter 10: The Microchip
“Oh come on, Great One, I got this,” Bert said, shoving hard against the wood. The end of the wood caught on the tiles and he lost his grip, sending him crashing forward into Rock, and they went tumbling and sliding towards the edge. “Whoa, whoa, whoa! Oh, shit!”
Rock’s foot caught onto one of the busted railings and he grabbed onto Bert right before they went sailing over the edge to the ground below, and they hung there upside down, their bodies swaying back and forth. Bert grinned sheepishly as he looked at Rock, whose eyebrow was raised with a look of, I told you so. Lal looked up at them, a coil of wiring in her hand, and shook her head. Typical men, they think they can do everything. She continued across the drive to one corner of the mansion where Maia was currently suspended, nailing new boards to the siding.
“Shadow, Gadget needs you to run this cord up to the satellite,” she called up to her.
“Sure, toss it up, and I’ll give it to Starboy, he’s still setting up the satellite,” Maia shouted back, holding out her hand to catch the wiring. Angel popped his head over the side and reached down to take the cord.
“You know, you should come up here with me, Maia, its nic-,” a small towel was tossed in his face, cutting him off, and he grinned.
“Save that for later, Angel,” Maia said in a stern voice. “I don’t want poor Horn having a heart attack if he sees us.”
“Yeah, that could be bad,” Angel agreed, laughing. He disappeared again with one end of the wiring.
“I heard that,” Bert shouted at them.
Wanderous was sitting at the dining hall table, three laptops surrounding her, and her fingers were a blur as she typed out commands. Anna was sitting next to her, holding the microchip in her palm, watching in fascination. Finally, Wanderous held out her hand, not taking her eyes of the screen, and waited for the microchip to be handed over. Anna hesitated and Wanderous glance over at her, smiling in reassurance. With a sigh, and a nod, Anna handed it to her. Wanderous slid the chip into the port, and her fingers started dancing over the keyboards again.
“How’s it coming with the chip, girls?” Taka asked as he, Wolf and Orcra wandered in.
“It’s got heavy encryptions on it, but I think I can bypass them to access the data,” Gadget said without looking up, her brows furrowed in concentration.
“Which means whatever is on it, is some pretty incriminating shit,” Wolf said, running a hand through his hair.
“I told you, it’s the evidence I needed for General Kuroii,” Anna stated, looking away from them.
“Aw, don’t be like that Belladonna,” Orcra said, “we know what it is. And we’ll help get all of this sorted out.”
“It’s not as easy as that,” she said.
They waited for her to elaborate, but she remained silent. How could she tell them who was behind it all? Who had betrayed every soldier, the General, the President, and even their country, Batoto. She wanted to keep it hidden, so that no one knew, but she also knew that if she did that, this whole thing would only get worse. She had to tell them, but first, that chip needed to be unlocked so that she had the proof, or they wouldn’t believe her. She felt arms wrap around her, and she looked up to see Taka smiling down at her as he hugged her from behind. She smiled back, and returned her attention to Wanderous as the guys headed back out to unload more supplies.
Arux returned from his perimeter patrol and grabbed a bottle of water before he noticed the Tumblers were back. He caught sight of Taka, Wolf and Orcra unloading the supplies and he jogged over to help. He listened quietly as they spoke of Belladonna and the secret she was holding fast to. His question was, how much further was she caught up in this mess? If she knew that much, what else did she have to do with it? He hated thinking about her like that, but at the moment, someone needed to. With the kind of information she carried, they couldn’t afford to relax their guard; even when it came to her.
Chapter 11: Revelation
“Holy crap, I’m in,” Wanderous shouted suddenly, startling Anna so much she nearly jumped out of her chair. “Anna, we’re in, the code is cracked.”
“Great job, Gadget,” Anna exclaimed with more excitement than she felt. She let out a small sigh. This was going to be loads of fun. Not.
“Do you want to go over it, or do you want me to have everyone come in and boot up their laptops. I can send them the files easily enough,” Wanderous asked her, watching her face closely.
“It would probably be better if everyone is here,” Anna replied quietly. “Do you want me to go get them?”
“No need, they’re already here,” Arux stated from the doorway, startling both Wanderous and Anna.
True to his statement everyone was standing just inside the room, a wide variety of emotions expressed on their faces. Taka moved past them and pulled up a chair next to Anna, gently wrapped an arm around her shoulders, and leaned his free elbow on the large oak table. The others all found chairs to sit in, but none of them grabbed their computers. It was quiet for the longest time, until Wolf cleared his throat and looked up at his sister, who caught his glance, and he nodded. Wanderous nudged Anna just the slightest with her elbow and smiled.
“This is your show, Belladonna,” she said, sliding the laptop towards her.
“Oh yeah, I really wanted to be in the spotlight, thanks Gadget,” Anna said with a thin laugh, grabbing hold of the laptop.
“Oh, you’re perfectly welcome,” Wanderous said, grinning cheekily.
“Damn, Orcra, your woman’s got a mean streak to her,” Bert said, cringing when Maia kicked his ankle.
“You’re just now noticing that, Horn?” Angel asked, yelping as it was his turn to be kicked.
“These are copies of security files that went missing from Vice President Trebor’s office two and a half years ago. It was assumed that it was General Kuroii who was behind it, and that he had given the information to Vaygr’s team before they left,” Anna said, drawing their attention once more. “Some of these files hold the locations of defense systems, base locations, network control codes, and, last but not least, a knock list.”
“So, if it wasn’t General Kuroii, was it possible that it was V.P Trebor? Was he ever suspected of anything?” Lal asked her.
“Everyone in the presidential office was a suspect, but, because of the fact that the General ran two of the elite Special Forces units, and one just happened to go rogue at the same time, he was the one regarded with the most suspicion. Until I saw Defense Secretary Murdath at the warehouse with Jabberwocky and Zero King,” She said, not daring to glance up from the screen.
“Secretary Murdath? You’ve got to be kidding me,” Rock said, leaning forward on his elbows. “There is no way that could happen!”
Anna just looked up at him as she turned the laptop around, and replayed the old security recording from Vaygr’s warehouse. They stared at it in stunned silence, the shock clearly evident on their faces. Anna sat quietly, her head down. Being betrayed by one of their government officials was not something that she had wanted to tell them. She knew that this was going to cause them to question the motives of the Batotian government, and who else could have been corrupted. That was something she had no answers for, and she couldn’t begin to guess as to why it had happened. It was Taka who voiced the next question running through her mind.
“Could it be there is another outside source with the kind of money to waste on corrupting the Batoto officials?” He asked quietly, frowning as he once again wrapped a comforting arm around Anna.
“I honestly can’t answer that, but I have questioned it,” she answered him.
“You weren’t kidding when you said that this goes really deep, were you, Belladonna?” Wolf asked, running a hand through his hair in agitation.
“I really wish I was, Wolf,” she said, her voice cracking slightly.
Chapter 12: Other Side
“You think I don’t know that? Spare me the posturing, Secretary,” Vaygr said just as coldly. “So, other than exposure, what the hell is on that chip that is so damned important?” No member of his team had been able to crack the encryption before that little pain in the ass of a spy had stolen it from him. They had been able to put stuff on it, just not read it.
“That, my friend, is on a need to know basis,” Murdath stated in a superior tone, “and, quite frankly, you just don’t need to know.”
“I'm not your friend, and bullshit I don’t need to know,” Vaygr said, his eyes narrowing in rage. “We betrayed our brothers and sisters, our country for you, so I believe we have the right to know what we did it for.”
They stood face to face in the small room set up as a meeting room inside Vaygr’s new warehouse, both men seething with unleashed anger held in check by the power struggle for dominance. The Secretary’s three bodyguards stood not far behind him, their hands slowly straying towards the handguns hidden in their suit jackets, while Dubbywubby, also known as Rain, Jabberwocky, Zero, and Roady slowly spread out so they each had a clear shot. The tension in the air grew as the two leaders faced off in a battle of wills; daring each other to back down. Dubbywubby shifted slightly on his feet, ready to spring at a moment’s notice, while Jabber openly held his Ingram’s in his hands. Zero and Roady just remained silent, watching and waiting.
“It’s really quite simple why you did it, Vaygr,” Murdath said with contempt. “It is the same for both of us; money. That’s all that matters to you. That is why you accepted the job in the first place. I paid you a great deal of money for this, and don’t forget it, soldier.”
“The day we joined up with you, we stopped being soldiers, so cut the shit, and tell me what the fuck is on that chip,” Vaygr demanded, his voice dripping acid.
“Vaygr, you would have done it sooner or later anyway,” Murdath accused. “I saw how much you enjoyed torturing your former comrades, and don’t even bother trying to deny it. You all enjoyed it, because you’re twisted like that. I was just an easy way for you to get out.”
Vaygr just grinned and looked over at Rain, whose eyes were locked on the Secretary, watching his every movement. Yeah, he wasn’t going to deny the fact they had taken great pleasure in torturing them. There had been a certain satisfaction in watching the pain on their faces as they were tormented every day. Who cares if they had been comrades, because he didn’t, and neither did anyone else in his unit. He had wanted to see them break, had come so close until Belladonna had interfered. He wanted to see the lapdogs of the General fall. It was going to be so decadent to see General Kuroii put behind bars for a treasonous act he didn’t commit. They needed to get that chip back.
“Who fucking cares whether or not we would have left, tell me what is on that chip,” Vaygr growled at the Secretary. “My patience is running very thin.”
“Again, I tell you, it is none of your concern. Suffice it to say, you weren’t the only one paid a great deal of money,” Murdath said, looking down at his wrist watch. “My contractor wants that chip and so do I. Go get it, eliminate those annoying bastards, or I will be forced to hire someone else. And I won’t cover for you if you are found out; I will make that clear right now.”
“The rest of my team is looking for their trail as we speak. It’s been a little over a week, so it’s a bit more difficult to find. Don’t worry your fancy little head off, Secretary, you’ll get your chip,” Vaygr said.
“You had better hope so, Vaygr, for yours and the rest of your unit’s sakes,” Murdath said as he walked to the door, his three silent bodyguards trailing close behind him.
After he left Rain looked at Vaygr, a frown on his face. “So, when do I get to break that piece of shit?”
“After we get the chip and find out who his contractor is, you can have as much fun as you want with him for all I care,” Vaygr replied, striding slowly out of the meeting room.
“You shouldn’t have said that, Boss,” Zero said quietly. “I don’t even want to know what he’s got running through his mind on that one.”
“But see, that’s the fun part about it,” Jabber said with a wicked grin. “I love watching him break people; so fascinating.”
“That’s because you two are twisted like that,” Roady stated.
“And you aren’t?” Vaygr asked him as they walked slowly down the hall.
“I never said I wasn’t, just not as twisted as those two,” Roady replied, laughing.
“Alright, I want you guys back out there looking for them, I want to get that chip before the Secretary has the chance to hire anyone else, which he will likely do, if he hasn’t already,” Vaygr said, pausing at one of the windows to watch the Secretary’s sleek black Mercedes pull away from the warehouse. “This time, I want them dead. No exceptions.”
“You got it, Boss,” four voices chorused, and they took their leave.
“No one gets the upper hand on me,” Vaygr said quietly, his tone icy with menace.
Chapter 13: Find Them
“Is that sarcasm I detect, Kaede?” Crazy Red asked, glancing over at her with a slight grin. “If so, it’s not going to get you very far.”
“So what if it is? What are you going to do about it?” She asked leaning her head back against the seat. “We’ve been looking for them for the past god knows how many days, and we haven’t found a single trace of them. We got lucky once because of that contact Belladonna had, what the hell makes Vaygr or anyone else think it will happen again?”
“I have no idea, but we really don’t have much choice, now do we? So, shut your trap and get over it,” Jabberwocky retorted from the back seat tapping his finger against the window in irritation. Being cramped in the SUV for so many hours each day was driving him insane, and it was starting to show. His patience was skating dangerously close to the edge.
“I will kill you Jabber-mouth,” Kaede said through her clenched teeth.
“Cool it, you two. Let’s at least try to stay focused, shall we?” Crazy Red said, shaking his head. “Besides, I have a feeling Rain is getting ready to crack your skulls together.”
“I don’t know about Rain, but I know I sure as hell am,” Dafortminor said with irritation.
Mystika stared out her window, growing more and more annoyed as time went by, the feeling scraping at her like nails on a chalk board. Where the hell were they hiding, and how the hell could they have lost them so quickly? She was getting tired of this; the endless searching for the elusive group of soldiers that held the key to their success, or so everyone was thinking. The constant bickering between her disgruntled teammates wasn't helping either. What bothered her more, though, was what she had heard Roady and Zero talking about a few days ago. The Secretary was working for someone else, and had hired Vaygr and the rest of the team to do the dirty work. Not that it was that huge of a deal, but if things didn’t go right for them, it was going to get real ugly real fast.
“Pfft, Daffy, you aren’t even going to get close enough to touch my head,” Kaede said with a grin.
“I’ll get closer than you think, Kaede,” Daffy said with a glare.
“That just sounds kinky Daffy,” Jabber said with a wide grin.
“That’s it, I’m going to kill you,” Daffy said as he half tackled Jabber, wrestling and punching him in the back of the SUV.
“Hey guys, cut the shit, I’m trying to drive here,” Crazy Red shouted at the two in the back, then, he swore under his breath as a foot slammed into the back of his seat.
“You know,” Seyrine said, looking back at the SUV behind them. “I think they’re getting better at arguing with each other. At least this time their SUV is still on the road.”
“That’s because Red is driving, not Jabber,” Rain said, shaking his head. Sometimes he wondered how this team even functioned, but they did, amazingly enough. “But, he’s right, I’m about ready to beat their skulls in and use them as bowling balls.”
“Since when do you go bowling Rain?” Mystika asked him.
“I don’t, that’s the whole point. That’s how much they’re annoying me,” Rain answered her.
Fiction slowed the SUV down just a bit as the vehicle in front of her swerved ever so slightly, and she almost started laughing. So much for Rain’s theory on Red’s driving, she thought to herself watching as Crazy Red corrected the SUV. She could barely make out the forms of Daffy and Jabber continuing to wrestle in the back seat and their voices here loud over the comm. system. God they needed to find Wolf’s team as soon as possible. An endless number of days searching for them were nothing short of a pain, and it was only getting worse as both the Defense Secretary and Vaygr grew more impatient with their lack of success. She glanced over at Zero in the passenger seat and at Roady through the rearview mirror, catching their disgruntled looks, and knew they were of the same opinion.
“If you two don’t knock it off, I’m kicking you out of this SUV and you can walk your happy asses back to the warehouse,” Crazy Red shouted.
“I knew it,” Seyrine said laughing. “Now to see if he actually does it.” He turned around again to watch with excitement.
After a while, Daffy and Jabber settled down, and things grew quiet once more. Still, anger and impatience ran through the group. If they couldn’t get that chip back there was no telling how bad the situation would get, and who would be the ones to be victorious. There was no doubt that by sheer numbers, Vaygr would out match the Secretary, however, Murdath held power and government persuasion over him. Either way, the situation was pretty grim, so long as they couldn’t locate the other unit and retrieve the microchip. The damn thing would have still been in their possession had it not been for Belladonna. The one thing that ran through their minds was how the hell she had infiltrated the warehouse in the first place. They knew that Vaygr wasn’t that stupid, so how the hell had she pulled it off? One way or another, they would hopefully find out sooner or later. Rain would likely ‘tickle’ the information out of her.
Chapter 14: Recon
Even more annoying was the fact that Vaygr was being hounded by the Secretary constantly about their progress, or, more rather, the lack thereof. He was half tempted to find a shop, buy a freaking microchip that looked exactly like the other one, put some random shit on it, encrypt it, and hand it over to Murdath. Sadly, though, it would only make things worse. Too bad, though, it would have been funny as hell just to see the look on Murdath’s face when he figured it out. He never got to have fun anymore. At least for now, though. As he was making yet another turn when the car phone rang, and he nearly groaned. So, it was already time for another status report. Just great. He accepted the call.
“What’s going on out there, Rain? Any luck?” There was pure impatience in Vaygr’s tone, not that Rain could blame him.
“These bastards are dug in deep, wherever they are,” he replied quietly.
“Keep me updated, that fucking secretary is hounding my ass more than usual,” Vaygr said with a near growl.
“You got it, boss,” Rain said and ended the call.
“Has anyone thought to go back to those safe houses to see if there was anything useful left behind?” Daffy asked, tapping his fingers against his knee.
“That’s actually a good idea,” Seyrine said, rubbing his chin thoughtfully.
“Amateurs,” Daffy muttered under his breath.
“Like you have anything to say on that, Daffy,” Kaede said. “You could have mentioned it sooner.”
“What, and miss out on all of you running around like chickens with their heads cut off? Where would be the fun in that?”
“Rain, let’s turn back,” Crazy Red stated. “Before these two get into it yet again.”
The SUVs were turned around and they started making their way back when, without warning, Rain slammed on the breaks. Red swerved to avoid ramming into the back of the vehicle, while Fiction had had time to slow down. Muttered curses filled all three vehicles as Rain started backing up quickly and turned down a side road.
“What the hell are you doing, Rain?” Fiction asked over the comm.
“I saw something, looks like it could be one of those huge ass ATVs they’ve got,” he replied.
“You’re kidding me,” Mystika said, grinning. After all of this, they decided to turn back and now they catch sight of them. Who would have thought it?
“Proceed with caution, Rain, we don’t know what kind of defenses they have had time to set up,” Zero said. “And knowing them, it could be anything.”
“I’ve already thought of that one. Move the vehicles into the thicker brush and let’s get them hidden. We’ll move ahead on foot so Wolf and his unit aren’t alerted, if they haven’t been already,” Rain said, easing his SUV to a stop and cutting the engine.
The team piled out of the vehicles, grabbing up their assortment of weapons before covering the SUVs with camouflage nets. Using as much stealth as they could with the thick underbrush all over the ground they spread out and moved forward through the trees. After about a quarter of a mile, a large mansion came into view, and sure enough, there in the drive were the three ATVs. They dropped down low and crawled forward to get a closer look. It was them alright, Jabberwocky thought as he caught sight of Maia walking the perimeter, her rifle held loosely in her hands. He would have taken her out with a single shot had Roady not put a hand on his shoulder, shaking his head.
“No, we don’t know where the others are, yet, so let’s wait,” he said quietly.
“Damn, don’t you think we’ve waited long enough?” Kaede said with a sneer at the slowly retreating form of Maia.
“Yes, but don’t you want to have them all together so we can kill them?” Roady asked.
“Why do that when a hunt could be so much fun,” Zero said.
“I completely agree,” Kaede said, licking the edge of her blade, a wild look in her eyes.
“While I agree with Zero and Kaede, it’s still a good idea to do a bit of recon, plus we need to report back to Vaygr that we finally found them,” Rain said, and the team slowly melted into the trees.
Chapter 16: The Game Begins
Zero King slid through the overgrown brush quietly, carefully placing each step to avoid any debris that would give away his location, all the while keeping an eye out for any kind of hidden trap that Orcraniil was known to set up. He stiffened as he caught movement to his right, but relaxed slightly as he caught sight of Jabberwocky and Rain moving through the trees like a pair of deadly wraiths, their eyes locked on the mansion looming ahead of them. Seyrine and Crazy Red fell into step on his left side, and he had absolutely no idea where Dafortminor and Kaede had disappeared to, but that was fine. The two of them could handle themselves.
Daffy watched from a safe distance on one side of the mansion, looking for the perfect spot to gain entry to the run down building so that he could ambush the target from the inside. He caught sight of movement near one of the windows, but the figure moved too quickly for him to get the chance to identify who it was, at least for now. He could barely make out the form of Kaede as she ran quickly through the trees to the other side of the building, jumping over jutting roots, and rolling with each landing. She wasn’t completely silent, but the sounds were muffled enough not to be noticed.
Arux was running up the stairs, sniper rifle in hand, searching for the staircase that would lead him onto the roof, the perfect position for be able to mark his targets without the chance of Mystika being able to get a shot at him, unless the sniper was brave enough to climb higher into the trees than was normally safe. Considering how crazy she was, it was possible, but he doubted it. He found the access hatch and pulled the stair-like ladder down; grateful they had already removed the spider and cobwebs from the attic. He quickly gained the roof, low crawling towards the edge and discreetly set his rifle into position, making sure that the sunlight wouldn’t reflect off his scope’s lens.
“I’m in position, mark your locations,” he said into the comm. quietly. “I’ve got my sights on… four members, spread thirty feet apart. No bead on the sniper.”
“Making my way to the back to circle around,” Maia said as she slipped her fingers under one of the slightly raised windows. She had chosen a spot that would conceal her exit; the shrubbery so overgrown from the garden that it was like a small jungle, making it easier for her to slip into the tree line.
"I'm with Shadow," Angel confirmed as he followed her out the window into the garden, both of them dropping low to the ground, their BDUs blending into the shrubbery.
“I’m setting up near the foyer,” Orcra stated, already carefully wiring the windows and door frame with explosives, though he kept low to keep from presenting a target for Vaygr’s sniper.
“I’ve spotted someone moving around the right side of the house,” Bert said as he rolled by one of the windows. “I think its Kaede, but I can’t be too sure. They’re movin’ pretty fast.”
“Try to keep them in sight, Horn,” Taka said as he and Wolf set up firing positions on either side of where Orcra was camped.
"We're on the left side of the mansion and so far no targets," Lal said as she and Rock took up their positions near the windows.
“I’m activating my drones,” Wanderous said, her fingers clicking away at her laptop. Beside the laptop was a pair of gloves and what looked to be a specialized set of goggles, all with wires attached to the laptop’s extra ports. As soon as she had the whirring drones activated she slipped on the gloves and goggles. “I’m locked in and waiting for the green light.
“I’ve got Gadget covered,” Annabelle said, a small arsenal of handguns, SMGs, and various knives scattered along the table and on her persons.
“I’ve got their sniper in my sights!” Arux exclaimed quietly. “I’ve got a shot…”
Wolf was silent for a few moments, then, taking a deep breath, mumbled into the comm. “Take the shot.”
Mystika was on the verge of taking aim at one of the shadows she had seen passing through the foyer and as she fingered the trigger of her rifle, lowering her head to the scope, a bullet whizzed past her ear to thud into the trunk of the tree, sending a shower of splinters around the lower half of her body. She rolled to one side, dropping out of the tree and into the cover of the bushes where she froze and took aim in the general direction of the sniper on the roof.
“Move in, I’m under fire!” She shouted into her comm. “Move in!”
More to come soon.
Edited by Subpyro, 09 November 2015 - 08:28 PM.