The combat Talon dropped me off at the nearest Hegemann airstrip which, conveniently, was only a short drive away from the new SCIT HQ. This one was a little better constructed. After the last one had been basically leveled by a number of ridiculous explosions we'd splashed out on some defenses and a little secrecy. Hopefully it wouldn't be so easy for people to A) find us and B) blow us up. Cue explosion in HQ's direction. Well so much for that plan. I got out of the car and started running.
First thing I saw when I reached HQ were the remains of Jagan's newest car. A Jaguar no less, personalised licence plates and everything. J4G4N had somehow managed to escape the blast unharmed, but that was all that was left really. I almost felt sorry for Jag. He really loved his cars. But there were bigger things to worry about. Like the gunshots that had just started going off everywhere. Fantastic timing. I hit the deck and drew my Glock. Safety off, lock and load. Targets firing from the building opposite HQ, maybe five or so in the windows. Round noise signature consistent with FAMAS assault rifle, french design, interesting. I readied myself and prepared to fire when a roar broke out from the HQ building. Jagan burst out of the doors, a heavy machine gun slung in his arms loaded with explosive head 7.62mm rounds. I think he was upset about his car. He opened fire and sprayed bullets out like a fiery whirlwind, the enemy building was being absolutely perforated. Crow and Dani and Drake leapt out of the windows, Crow rattling off the rounds with his Firestar, Dani breaking in her brand new DSR-Subsonic, Drake putting in clinical bursts with an M4. All four of them gave an absolutely mental battle cry and charged forwards. I guess they weren't really feeling like doing things properly huh? Not that it mattered. Jagan had probably scared the crap out of the bad guys already. The four of them charged like lunatics at where the targets were hiding. I decided I'd just stay on the ground. I hardly needed to intervene anyway. I just sat back and watched. For once Steve wasn't the craziest one there, I mused, as Jagan started bashing skulls.
The smoke cleared inside five minutes. I went over to the rest of the team and greeted them.
"Why does something always go wrong when I'm away?"
It was kinda funny hearing all of them call me different things at the same time.
"Shall we get back inside? Oh and if any of them are still alive bring them for interrogation. If not, bring their weapons. We can ID them and find where they were produced." I led the way back into base.
"How did the hit go Sherlock?" Crow asked as we walked.
"Stalker used a decoy. I popped him right between the eyes though. You would've loved those conditions. Excellent for shooting."
"You sure he used a decoy and you didn't just miss? You are getting on a bit, you might have just hit the wrong guy."
"SHUT UP! ARE YOU SUGGESTING-" Crow smirked at my outraged reaction.
"Oh HA-HA. Real funny Crow." I couldn't help but smile a little.
"Sorry, Foster. Could't resist. Besides I don't think I can pick on Jagan for losing another car. He went absolutely berserk on those guys. Even scared me a little."
"Well, serves him right for always getting such nice cars. That one was a classy machine. If he didn't splash out on his cars people wouldn't want to blow them up."
Jagan looked like I'd just slapped him in the face.
"Oh, relax Jagan. We'll get you a new one eventually. Don't worry about it." I noticed he was still squeezing the grip of the HMG. "Oh, and you might wanna put that huge weapon of yours back in the armoury, you could hurt someone."
Just then a figure crept out of my office holding a gun. I twitched and immediately brought my own weapon to bear, ready to put two rounds in her head.
The others virtually tackled me to the floor in a simultaneous attempt to stop me shooting. What the hell was going on?
"Sorry, she's a new recruit. Has limited battle experience so we gave her a sidearm and told her to hide. Name's Myra." Drake frantically explained the situation while I holstered my weapon. I examined our newest member. She was shaking a little, I guess that was normal. The adrenalin goes nuts when you're inexperienced and there are guns going off everywhere. Her eyes were good and sharp but she looked very green in terms of fighting. I also saw she had a notepad on her.
"Alright Myra, welcome to SCIT. Sorry I tried to shoot you, just instincts you know? I'm Foster Lewis, I'll be your commanding officer." I held out a hand to shake and she took it, also handing me a the notepad. Then I got it. Oh-
I took Drake aside. "Drake, did you know she was-"
"Yes, I knew. Regardless she had an excellent record despite being young. I wouldn't have requested her joining if I didn't think she could handle it."
"She can't speak. What if we need to communicate by microphone? What if the environment is dusty or wet or she doesn't have a pen on her? Sign language can only take you so far. Are you certain she won't be a battlefield liability?"
"I have faith in her. I didn't just pick her at random. Besides we needed another operative while Beth's on leave."
Crow cut in. "I actually agree with Drake on this one, old man. She's sharp and keen. Nobody's perfect when they start out. Give her a chance Foster."
I acknowledged defeat. "Alright, she's in. But she's your responsibility. You two had better show her the ropes and get her in shape for operations. We're gonna be heading out soon."
"What do you mean? We've got an assignment?" Dani joined in the conversation. Well by now everyone was listening in so might as well just spit it out.
"Right, well the guys who just attacked HQ are using French weapons. The Stalker was meeting with a French VIP in the mountains when I found him. Put two and two together and there's something going on in France. Maybe a plot against the French government, maybe the French government are actually working with the Stalker against us, who knows? Point is, we have to get out there and investigate. We'll be leaving in a week. Myra, I'm sorry but you're going to have to learn fast. If you fall behind then death will catch up to you fast. We protect our comrades but there's only so much we can do. Listen well to Crow and Drake. They'll teach you all you need to know. That's the lowdown people. Time is short so let's get to work."