Charles counted on his fingers.
– “Eleven… Twelve… Thirteen… Fourteen… Hey guys, y’know what?” he suddenly said. “I think I just might have enough dough gathered up in 14 years, to be able to retire happily!”
– “Well how jolly for you, aye?” Todd replied. “What did you plan on doing then?”
– “Hah! Most probably he’ll just spend it all on those craps-tables back in town, and he’ll be stuck here for another 14 damn years!”
The desert sun was burning the group’s necks, as they were walking steadily northwards. They had walked a couple rough hours and it would take at least one more day to get to where they were going.
– “This assignment sucks ass, mate.” Roger said, with his ever-so-hilarious Australian accent, as he was chewing on a cigar.
– “Well, what can you do, huh?” Brigand answered. “The boss hand-picked us, so we can’t really do anything else than to just follow his orders.”
– “Yeah…” Ryans said. “But I just can’t help to wonder, what’s really up with all this! I mean, ’Head north, to these coordinates. Get inside the facility, and come back to report your findings.’ What gives?”
– “Hey Ryans, try to add 2 to 2, will ya?” Brigand said, laughing. “It’s on a need-to-know basis! Which means, that you –obviously– aren’t that high on the ranking-lists with the boss!”
– “Well in that case it applies to you too, am I right, Brigand?” Ryans said back with a devilish smile.
– “Oh you little…”
The argument was cut short by Charles.
– “Shut up, both of you! Sheesh! No wonder I was assigned as the leader of this op.”
The group of people walked silently for a while. Todd kept fingering his rifle. Brigand couldn’t keep his hands off of his MG. Ryans let his guns hang loosely in his holsters, allowing him to draw them quickly if necessary. Everyone was a bit on edge. That was for sure.
– “This assignment sucks ass, mate…”
– “YOU suck ass!”
The sun went down, and the cold night was upon the group. They had to slow down slightly, as it became increasingly difficult to see, and to navigate through some random escarpments and rocky cliffs, yet they didn’t stop to camp for the night anywhere. They just kept going on. Suddenly, a whisper ran through the group, and everyone stopped: they had reached their destination.
– “So, this is it, huh?” Lauren whispered, as she came up to Charles, as he was lying down at the edge of a cliff.
– “I suppose so, yes…” Charles replied.
Before them, about a mile away or so, lied a military-base, in the middle of nowhere.
– “Well, I’ll be damned…” Cutter said in a low tone as he came up. “So THIS is what the boss wants us to check out…”
– “Makes perfect sense, doesn’t it?” Charles whispered as he took out his binoculars. A lot of other people took out their own binoculars or magnifying rifle-scopes. “I’m not too surprised if the boss found out about this place in some odd way, and his desire to investigate it just kept growing!”
– “No signs of movement…” Brigand said. “The main building seems to have a high fence all around it.”
– “…limiting the options of entry-points…” Ryans said to himself, looking through a sniper-scope he had salvaged from a raid.
– “The main entrance seems to be the most accessible point of entry.” Charles said and turned around, facing the rest of the group. “There are some minor buildings, right outside the main gate. We’ll check them out first. Let’s move! Sunrise won’t be far, when we reach the gates!”
A red light starts flashing on a computer-panel as text starts appearing on the screen.
“Un-identified targets noticed approaching. Commands?”
*Observe targets, without taking any further actions.*
The computer died out and the screen turned dark again.
Charles walked first, weapon drawn. He took a quick look back to see all of the 30 gunmen and women following him, weapons drawn as well. The plains surrounding the base were quite devoid of life. No plant life, rocks or cliffs anywhere. Not even the smallest of tumbleweed anywhere. Charles kneeled down when they were halfway there and took his binoculars out. The rest of the group kneeled down or lied down near him, with all their senses standing on edge.
– “I see some form of things standing up from the ground, like short, fat traffic lights, that someone put up with regular intervals.” Charles whispered.
– “Short, fat traffic lights with fat arms?” Brigand asked.
– “I don’t know, but we’re checking it out nonetheless!” Charles said in low voice and put away his binoculars. “Let’s move!”
They started moving towards the main entrance again, weapons drawn, in a stealthy manner. It was getting slightly lighter, as the sun was to rise soon.
– “Everybody, stop!” someone whispered.
Everyone dropped down to the ground. Some aimed their guns towards the base, while others aimed in other directions in case if someone was jumping at them from the darkness.
Nothing happened. They just lied there, about 20 meters from the fence-gates.
– “Who gave that order?” Charles whispered.
– “It was me, Brennan.” someone whispered from the front row. “Those ain’t traffic lights, man! Traffic lights don’t have two big fucking miniguns, man! They’re sentry-turrets!”
Everyone went silent. Brigand looked from turret-post to turret-post.
– “She’s right.” he whispered. “But they seem to be offline.”
– “Okay, two groups...” Charles whispered. “Brigand; take a dozen assault-units, and move forth. The rest of will follow with a slight distance, in case if those turrets pop back online.”
– “Aight.” Brigand whispered and named 12 people. “On me, people.”
Brigand’s team got up, and started sneaking towards the gates. Ryans, who was posted in Brigand’s team, had his two .223 pistols drawn out, and he took a good look at the turrets as they came closer. “Offline, but for how long?” he thought for himself.
A computer suddenly came to life and text started appearing on the screen.
“Un-identified targets have reached the gates. Classification: Human. Headcount: 30. All targets are armed with projectile weapons. Explosive mass detected within their backpacks. 12 targets are within optimal firing-range. All targets are within maximum firing-range. Commands?”
*Continue observation of targets, without taking any further actions.*
The computer died out and the screen turned dark again.
– “They’re inside the fence.” Lauren whispered. “They’re waving to us.”
– “Okay, let’s go to them.” Charles replied and got up. “Move out!”
The second team started moving towards the gates. Brigand’s team was holding there, with people kneeling or lying down, aiming at some of the turrets or the main blast door of the base.
– “Everything is quiet…” Ryans said. “Too quiet…”
– “This assignment sucks ass, mate…” Roger said, taking a closer look on one of the turrets. “Big, big-ass guns, armored with thick steel plates... These things won’t be that easy to take out.”
– “I doubt we’ll have to worry about that, Rog.” Charles whispered as he came to Roger. “I doubt the base is powered anymore, so the turrets won’t be making any problems. Brigand, take five men and move to the main door. Ryans, take four and check that garage out. Todd, Lauren, go check that small bunker out. Take these radios, and report anything that you think is even slightly off. The rest of us will hold here. Move!”
Several lights started blinking as a computer came to life. Text started appearing on a monitor again.
“All targets are within optimal firing-range. Targets have split up into smaller teams and are moving around inside the base-perimeter. Six are approaching the main door. Five are approaching maintenance-garage and power supplies. Two are approaching ammo-bunker. 17 are holding at the fence-gates. Commands?”
*Continue observation of targets. Prepare to activate full defensive systems.*
The computer stayed on, and the text stayed on the screen, while a red light was blinking on the wall.
– “’Report anything that you think is even slightly off…’” Roger said for himself as he was sneaking towards the garage with Ryans’ team. “This assignment sucks ass, mate!”
– “Shut up, Roger.” Ryans whispered as they got to the doors. “Techie, get over here!”
– “What’s up?” the techie whispered when he got to Ryans.
– “Allritey, just give me a minute!” the techie said and took out a handful of tools.
– “We’re going in another way.” Ryans whispered into a radio. “These doors are trapped. We’ll try to find an un-trapped one.”
– “Got it.” was the reply.
Meanwhile Todd and Lauren faced the same problem with the small bunker.
– “Think you can handle this?” Lauren asked.
– “I didn’t take a masters degree in electronics for nothing, y’know…” Todd whispered back.
– “You mastered in electronics? Wow!”
– “Yea, be quiet and let me concentrate on this door now, okay? I wouldn’t like this whole place to blow up on us, y’know!” he whispered back and took out a set of tools.
– “Alright...” Lauren said and took a look around the corner, to see Brigand and his team move towards the main door. Suddenly a nearby turret caught her attention. She took out her radio and contacted the whole group. “Hey… Hey guys, take a look at some nearby turret…”
– “What about them?” Brigand asked as he and his team reached the main door. “They’re like, a fat pole with two miniguns as arms, and seem to have the CPU and sensors at the top of the central pole! Two sensors seem to be red, and one is green. So?”
– “Yea, but look closer!” Lauren said.
– “What are you exactly getting at?” Charles asked.
– “Their sensors are blinking…” Ryans suddenly said with a tone of fear in his voice, as he looked into the sensors of a turret. “A red, pulsating light, right in the middle of the sensors…!”
– “Oh my God…”
“Targets have noticed turret-activity. Defensive systems are online and ready to initiate. Commands?”
*Execute defensive systems and engage targets.*
“Acknowledged. Engaging targets of opportunity.”
– “CHARLES! BEHIND YOU, THE TURRETS!! THEY’RE ALIVE!!!”
– “OH SHI---“
The next moments were nothing but major fuzz. All the turrets sprang up and activated their weapons simultaneously, and everyone at the gate died almost instantly in a massive spray of bullets from several nearby turrets. Lauren grabbed her sniper rifle and shot one turret’s CPU to bits, but was perforated along with Todd by another turret.
Brigand and his team succeeded in taking out the two closest turrets, just to see the whole team at the gate be ripped to shreds by the storm of bullets from all directions. They got down in time for some little personal protection, and started shooting back at the never-dying muzzle-flames in the darkness.
Ryans managed to destroy the turret he was examining, right as it activated, and he came around the corner, just in time to see the same sight Brigand saw: the whole gate team died out, in less than a second.
– “NO! CHARLES!” he cried out in despair and aimed his pistols. “FOR THE SAKE OF FUCK!”
He took up the fight from the garage-corner and started blasting mindlessly at the turrets, as some of the muzzle-flames aimed towards him and bullets started spreading around him, while his team took out another turret near the garage. One man lost his life to a nearby turret. The techie was long gone.
– “Ryans, for FUCK sake, AIM!” Brigand’s voice cried out on the radio, as one of his team got pierced by lead.
Ryans turned around and high-tailed to the other end of the garage, as the corner he stood at got completely destroyed. Another man died of his team. It was just Ryans and Michelle, a pair of handguns and a sniper rifle.
– “Brigand, let’s call it a night and get the fuck out of here! Charles’ is out cold, it’s only me and Michelle here! We’ll take out the most vital turrets and high-tail it out of here!” Ryans cried into the radio, hoping that Brigand would hear him amidst all the gunfire. “Michelle! Let’s go!”
– “Okay, guys!” Brigand cried out in the middle of the shooting. “WE’RE LEAVING!!”
He had lost two men already, and when his sniper stood up she got infected with a really lethal sudden lead-poisoning. “Mira’s down, but we just HAVE to go!” He stood up shooting, taking down two turrets in rapid succession, and started running towards the bunker at the gate.
Ryans stood behind the corner of the garage and watched Brigand run. “Damn, he actually made it” he thought for himself, while shooting at another pair of muzzle-flames in the ever-diminishing darkness. “So a new day is dawning…” Michelle thought as she threw in another clip into her rifle.
– “Ryans, come in, Ryans!” Brigand’s voice suddenly cried on the radio.
– “What?” Ryans said back.
– “My team is dead, and I’m hit… Badly! I’ve reached the bunker, and the turrets can’t hit me where I am right now.”
– “Okay, stay there, we’ll figure a way to get you out of ---“
– “No…” Brigand interrupted him. “Even if I made it out of this base, I’d never make it back to Reno… My leg is in pieces, man…”
– “Don’t you even fucking think about it…” Ryans said as he took cover. “We’re not leaving anyone behind!”
– “This is a direct fucking order, so you better do as you’re told, soldier! Get your and Michelle’s ass out of here. I’ll cover you…”
– “Y’know, you always were the heroic bastard, Brigand!” Ryans said. “Organize a greeting-party for me in hell, alright?”
– “And you always needed someone to watch your back… Now GO!”
With those words Brigand shut his radio off, and lied down with his MG.
– “See you in hell, man…” he said as a turret turned around and aimed at him. “See you all in hell…”
– “Well, we’re a day’s walk from Reno… You think you can make it with that leg of yours?”
– “I doubt it, Michelle… I really doubt it…”
– “I ain’t leaving you here, you know that!”
– “Psshh… Well, if you want to die with a 195-pound dead weight on your shoulders, then go ahead!”
– “195 pounds ain’t that much… Come on, let’s go, kiddo!”