August 29th 2134, Moscow, Russia
Dale chuckled and shook his head at what Connor had just done. Arden lowered his pistol and stood speechless. John shook his head as well. John rushed over to Connor and firmly grabbed his arm. He pulled him to a corner of the room.
“Give us just a second,” John said to Arden and Dale.
“K,” Arden replied. He moved to cover the door with Dale.
“Hey, easy man,” Connor said to John rather annoyed at him pulling him.
“Smoke,” John began in a scolding tone of voice. “I know what you’re thinking, and it’s crazy.”
“It is not crazy!” Connor said back in voice just under a volume that anybody outside couldn’t hear. “That racecar crash happened two years ago.”
“Get a hold of yourself man!” John raised his voice. “We have to keep focused on the mission. Don’t let your personal feelings distract you!”
“She could still be alive! I have to know Mist.”
“You’re putting this entire operation in jeopardy!”
“You don’t know what it’s like to lose the woman you love,” Connor returned in a quieter tone.
“You’re right, I don’t,” John gave in. “But I know that if she was here right now, she would want you to focus on your mission. We’ve only been in this hospital for eight minutes now and we already found out that the RLA is building android-like assassins. I’m sure there is more that we can find out too, so we can’t go searching for records about your fiancée, who once again is probably not even alive.”
“Can I get my blade back now?” Dale asked to try and lighten the mood a little, which didn’t work.
“Shut up,” John replied holding a finger up at Dale. Dale shrugged. Connor’s fists were clenched tight and his mind was racing. He wanted to argue more and try to find out about Penelope, but he knew deep down that the logical choice was to let her go for now. Connor slowly put his emotions back under control and unclenched his fists.
“Okay,” Connor gave in. “But promise me, if we have any sort of extra time at the end of this op, that we will search for records of her?”
“You know we won’t have extra time,” John shot down Connor’s request. “But I promise.” Connor nodded his head a couple of times quickly, then turned and walked to Dale.
“Here’s your stupid knife back,” Connor said, handing Dale’s curved blade back to him.
“Much obliged,” Dale joked.
“To get back to the mission here,” Arden started. “How exactly do you plan to go about searching this hospital for answers without raising an alarm?”
“I don’t think we can,” John replied unhopefully. “We are going to have to shoot our way to any answers we find.”
“Sounds good to me,” Connor remarked still with a little bit of a bloodlust.
“What about any civilians?” Dale asked.
“The way I see it, they know what they’re doing to these people. They’re in no way innocent,” John explained.
“Alright, but can we at least try to be nonchalant first?” Arden suggested. “The civilians may not know the difference between us and RLA soldiers.”
“I doubt it, but we can try,” Connor replied.
“Alright, well let’s go,” Dale said as he opened the door as if they weren’t infiltrating the place. They stepped in to a lobby with a hallway directly to their right and a round desk in the middle of the lobby. Hallways were branching off different ways from the lobby as well. There were four elevators, two on each opposite side of the lobby. They ended up stepping right next to an Elite Blade soldier as soon as they entered the lobby.
“Nonchalant ain’t gonna work,” Dale said very quickly.
“BLAST HIM!” John shouted. Normally the soldier would have retaliated quickly, but even the Elite Blade thought that the middle of Moscow was safe from FKA infiltration. The soldier was torn apart limb from limb as Arden’s shotgun blew him back, Connor’s PMR consistently shooting his head and other vital areas, John’s pistol shooting repeatedly in to the soldier’s chest, and Dale’s carbine firing in to the soldier’s gut. Blood spewed all across the clean white hospital floors as the soldier’s mutilated body collapsed.
“Oh boy,” Connor remarked, slightly panicked about what was going to happen next. Vapor Team got a better look at the lobby in front of them. Six workers were standing paralyzed in fear. There were two cameras set up on the walls of the lobby. Conner quickly shot four shots at the cameras to destroy them, two shots per camera to be sure. Dale looked down the hallway to their right and noticed two regular Red Legion soldiers running towards them and getting ready to shoot. He turned and gunned them down before they could fire.
“Interrogate on the go, show no mercy,” John said quickly. He moved towards the round desk and the hospital workers backed up in fear. John aimed his pistol at one of them and asked, “How many soldiers in this hospital?”
The worker just muttered panicked and inaudible gibberish. John shot him in the heart and turned to aim at another worker. He asked the same question but the worker didn’t reply. John shot him as well. Finally another one of the workers replied, “There are around one hundred standard soldiers, and eighty Elite Blade soldiers.” Everyone paused shortly after this was said.
“Well damn,” Arden remarked after hearing of the eighty Elite Blade soldiers.
“So this is the birth place of the Elite Blade project?” John continued.
“Yes,” the same worker replied.
“Excellent,” John said, and then he shot the rest of the workers in the lobby.
“You didn’t want to ask anything more?” Dale questioned John.
“No, we need to keep moving. If we stay in the same place too long we’ll get pinned down we’ll never get out of here,” John replied. Dale nodded in agreement. Another civilian entered the lobby, curious of the gunshots he had heard. Vapor Team turned and aimed their guns at the civilian, who then fainted from fear. Dale chuckled.
“Let’s work our way up to the roof,” Arden suggested. “We already learned much more than what we bargained for anyways.”
“I agree,” Connor added. “We can’t stay here for very long anyways.”
“Let’s move,” John said. They heard one of the elevators ding from across the lobby. Dale pulled the pin on one of his grenades and threw it at the elevator. The doors opened just in time and the grenade landed inside. There were six RL soldiers on the elevator. The grenade exploded and fire and smoke shot out of the elevator shaft. A loud snap and creaking metal sounds followed and the elevator broke loose and plummeted, but no crashing sound was heard.
“Umm, shouldn’t the elevator have crashed on the ground floor by now?” Dale asked. A few seconds later they heard a muffled crash.
“This hospital doesn’t only have fifteen stories,” John started to say. “But it has a subterranean facility under it too.”
“Where the Elite Blade was born no doubt?” Arden assumed. They all thought about that idea for a moment.
“We should get moving then,” Connor said nervously.
“Definitely,” Arden added quickly. They looked around and saw an “EXIT” sign over one of the doors in the lobby. They rushed through the door and a stairwell was indeed on the other side. They sprinted up six floors as fast as they could, then they heard angry Russian voices coming from above. Vapor Team stopped and exited the stairwell on to the ninth floor. In front of them was another lobby just like the one on the third floor. Sixteen hospital workers all glanced at Vapor Team, then did a double take after noticing just who they were. Half of them stood up and froze in fear.
“Any questions for them?” Dale asked the other three.
“Nah,” John answered. Vapor Team raised their guns and shot them all dead. Hallways were branching off every which way from the lobby just as before.
“Cover those hallways,” Arden reminded them. Suddenly Red Legion soldier after Red Legion soldier came running down the different hallways. Vapor Team rolled behind nearby desks and file cabinets. Gun fire began lining the walls of the lobby as Red Legion soldiers slowly progressed in to the lobby and suppressed Vapor Team’s position. Dale raised his carbine above his head and shot in an arc all around the lobby to return suppressive fire.
“NOW!” Dale shouted out. Vapor Team poked above their cover and took out ever RL soldier in less than two seconds without getting shot themselves. Then the door to the stairwell swung open and several RL soldiers were on the other side. The RL soldiers opened fire and proceeded in to the lobby. Vapor Team readjusted their positions behind their cover to stay out of the line of fire from the stairwell.
“Fog, get their attention!” Connor yelled.
“On it,” Arden replied. Arden snaked his way around the desks and cabinets and chairs to get closer to the RL soldiers while still remaining behind cover. He rushed one of the soldiers. The soldier tried to fire on Arden, but he was already on him before he knew it. Arden’s fists flowed all over the soldier’s body and he disarmed him easily. He then used him as a human shield and aimed his pistol at the other soldiers. The rest of the RL soldiers aimed at Arden but refused to fire on their fellow soldier.
Using the distraction, Connor pulled the pin on one of his grenades while John and Dale popped up from their cover and gunned down the soldiers in the lobby. Connor threw his grenade in to the stairwell and the door slowly closed shut automatically. Arden snapped the soldier’s neck he was holding as the loud thump sounded from the other side of the door from the grenade.
“Clear!” Dale called out.
“For now,” Connor added. They regrouped in the center of the lobby behind another round desk.
“Ammo check,” Arden said.
“I can go a little longer,” Dale replied.
“Me too,” John said.
“Ditto,” Connor started. “Let’s go find another staircase. We only have twenty minutes to get back to our insertion point. We need to hurry.” Before they could go anywhere though, a voice boomed over the hospital intercom system.
“Vapor Team,” the voice said slowly. “Yes we know it’s you.”
“Sounds like the Elite Blade commander that infiltrated the power plant,” Connor pointed out.
“You are a brave little group of soldiers, I’ll give you that,” the voice continued. “But unfortunately for you, this little game is over. Even the mightiest of soldiers should know their own limits. I believe you have gone, way past your limits.
“I hate his voice,” Dale sneered. Vapor Team looked in to one of the cameras aimed at the lobby, as if to try and look at where the voice was coming from.
“No doubt you have figured out some of the secrets this hospital holds. These hospital workers are so weak minded they probably couldn’t keep their mouths shut. But it is because of that, you are not allowed to leave,” the voice still echoed throughout the lobby and hallways. “Fortunately for me, you’re in the very birthplace of your ‘better’ counterparts. And as you have no doubt also found out, that we aren’t the only thing the Freedom Knights should fear anymore.”
“Is he talking about those new android assassins?” Arden asked.
“I think so, but I don’t wanna stick around to find out just how lethal they are,” Connor replied. “For all we know, they could be more of a threat than the Elite Blade.”
“Anyways, time’s up Vapor Team,” The voice echoed. Three different elevator dings sounded just after he said this. “I believe you’ve overstayed your welcome. Elite’s… Show no mercy.” A click sounded from the intercom being switched off.
“Black out!” John commanded. Vapor Team instantly shot all the lights and the cameras in the lobby, and then switched to night vision optics. They each pulled a pin on one of their grenades. “All at the one elevator,” John ordered.
“Copy,” Connor acknowledged. They each threw their grenade at the elevator on the side of the lobby that already had the other broken elevator. Then they turned around, facing the other two elevators and ducked behind any cover they could find. The doors to the elevators slid open just as their grenades blew up. The elevator behind them was knocked out of alignment and jammed from the grenades’ explosions. The hostile soldiers inside were killed by the concussive force of the grenades and the shrapnel. The rest of the soldiers in the other two elevators were indeed Elite Blade soldiers. There were six soldiers in each elevator.
“Open fire!” John shouted out. Vapor Team peeked around their cover and fired at the Elite Blade soldiers as they exited in to the lobby. The Elite Blade soldiers ducked and rolled behind their own cover before they could be struck by Vapor Team’s gunfire. A short firefight ensued between them, but there were no casualties. Both sides were too evenly matched.
` “We’re getting nowhere!” Dale said annoyed as bullets peppered the walls behind them.
“We gotta get out of here,” Connor stated. “We need to get to the roof.”
“Man, screw the roof!” Dale disagreed. “We just need to get out of this building!” More Red Legion soldiers, both standard and Elite Blade were invading the lobby from the stairwells and surrounding hallways.
“We’re surrounded,” Arden stated.
“Shadow’s right, we head for the nearest window,” John ordered. “Smoke, ‘nade and retreat.”
“On it!” Connor replied. He pulled one of his grenades out and threw it at the nearest hallway without pulling the pin. No time to even wait for the fuse, Connor thought. Three RL standard soldiers were in the hallway getting ready to fire at them. The world seemed to slow down around him. Connor focused so hard on this shot that he heard his heart pumping rapidly inside his head. He zeroed his PMR sight on the grenade and waited for it to sail right between the three RL soldiers. Finally, Connor took the shot and the grenade exploded, sending the hostile soldiers against the walls.
“NOW!” John signaled. Vapor Team arose from their cover and sprinted as fast as possible to the hallway. A little bullet fire peppered their armor, but didn’t breach it. They entered the hallway and kept sprinting.
“After them!” a voice called out from behind.
“Keep moving!” John said. They kept sprinting towards the edge of the hospital while bullets pinged off of their armor from behind. Two bullets breached Connor and Arden’s armor, resting just barely inside their skin.
“Gaah!” Arden grunted in pain but didn’t slow down.
“Break off,” John ordered. They all broke off in to a separate hallway to avoid the gunfire. “Up ahead, that room should have a window.” They kept sprinting and Dale moved to the front of them and bashed the door off of its hinges. There was no window in the room they were in however.
“Damn it!” Arden groaned.
“Nevermind,” John said. They turned around to see a soldier standing in the intersection of the two hallways that they had just passed through. Vapor Team raised their guns and almost shot, but hesitated when they noticed something different about the soldier ahead of them.
“What is that?” Connor asked.
“Do you think it’s…” Arden continued, suggesting that it was one of the new android assassins. The soldier ahead of them was standing like a statue. It looked like a male. His arms were to his sides and in one hand he held a pistol. His armor looked even sleeker than the Elite Blade. It gleamed in the hospital light like it was newly polished, because it probably was. The visor was thin and golden. The rest of the armor was a pitch black, but still had dark crimson stripes like all of the other armor types of the Red Legion had.
“Well,” John started. “Let’s not find out.” He raised his sniper rifle and shot a round directly at the center mass of the soldier, but John barely noticed the soldier had jumped in to the air just before John fired. The soldier back flipped right over the sniper round, and as he came back down, aimed his pistol at John and fired. The bullet struck John’s visor right an intersection of the diamond weaving, and his visor cracked.
“Shit!” Dale shouted in disbelief. The new soldier stood with his pistol aimed at John still. The hospital intercom flared to life.
“Red Legion, break off pursuit and cover all possible exits instead. The assassins will finish the job.” The intercom clicked off again.
“Well I guess that confirms it,” Connor remarked.
“Fuck him up!” Dale roared as he raised his carbines to fire. Connor, Arden, and John steadied their weapons on the assassin as well and they all opened fire. Like lightning however, the assassin vanished in to a separate hallway.
“Their movements are quick, and almost robotic,” Arden pointed out.
“It’s because they almost are robots remember?” Connor said. “They’re androids.”
John shook his head from the shock of the pistol round and said, “Well let’s not stick around any longer. Head that way,” John said pointing down a hallway to their right. “It should lead to the edge of the hospital.”
“Like this room was supposed to,” Dale said smartly, pointing with his thumb at the room behind them.
“Shut up and just do it,” John replied. They sprinted down the hallway quickly. As they sprinted they heard metal clanging above them.
“They’re in the vents,” Connor stated. “Keep moving!”
“There,” John pointed at a room near another hallway intersection. The door was slightly open and they noticed a flash of light illuminate the room on the other side.
“Lightning,” Connor said.
“Exactly,” John replied. Vapor Team sped up, anxious to get out of the hospital. The vent cover directly above them was busted open and an assassin dropped down on top of Connor. Connor was slightly disoriented from the unexpected attack, and the assassin raised a knife it held in its hand, ready to come down on Connor. Arden blasted the assassin off of Connor with his shotgun and helped him back up.
“Come on!” Dale said leaning out of the doorway to the room they were exiting from. “Meet you outside.” Arden and Connor rushed toward the room. They heard the glass shatter from Dale and John getting ready to exfiltrate. Arden and Connor entered the room just in time to see Dale and John jump out of the window and jet pack up to the closest building’s roof. Arden jumped out of the window and did the same. Connor reached the window, but turned around to see another assassin standing in the doorway, aiming a pistol at him. Connor raised his PMR and steadied it on her visor, but hesitated to shoot for a second. Why hasn’t she shot? Connor wondered. Then the assassin lowered her pistol and brought her arm to her side, but continued to stare at Connor.
“Wait, this one isn’t programmed to attack Vapor Team,” a voice spoke from outside the room. Connor was confused, but wasted no more time. He lowered his gun as well and turned around and activated his jetpack, flying high up to the roof of the adjacent building. Why didn’t I just shoot her, Connor thought. He pushed the thought aside when he rendezvoused with Arden, Dale, and John.
“Let’s get the hell out of here!” Arden said. They began sprinting along the rooftop to get away from the hospital.
“Get ready guys. I’m about to give away our position and speak over an open channel,” John stated. “Tennis! Tennis! Do you read?”
“’Allo master Mist. What is it?”
“Change of plans Tennis. I’m activating our suits’ homing beacons. Lock on and come directly to us, and be quick! The entire city is about to know where we are.”
“Understood sir, on my way now,” Oliver acknowledged. Vapor Team all activated their suit’s homing beacons. They kept sprinting and using their jet pack to jump from roof to roof. Suddenly the city became alive. Search lights shot in to the sky and a city-wide alarm sounded. Military helicopters began patrolling overhead, as well as fast-movers. Half of a minute went by and they were still running for their lives.
“Tennis! Where are you!?” Connor asked.
“Ten seconds master Smoke,” Oliver replied. Sure enough, ten seconds later the dropship flew above Vapor Team from the side. It flew around behind them and sped up until it was right above them and then matched Vapor Team’s speed. One by one Vapor Team used their jet packs to fly through the small hatch in the bottom of the dropship. Once they were all on board Arden closed the hatch.
“Climb!” John ordered. Oliver nosed up the dropship and set it to full throttle. The engines roared and the dropship rumbled. The storm still raged above them and the thunder shook the dropship even more. Dale looked out a window and lightning shot across the sky, illuminating a Red Legion stealth chopper for a split second.
“We’ve got company,” Dale said. Then a consecutive beeping sound echoed through the cockpit and the cabin of the dropship.
“We’re being locked on,” Oliver stated. Dale noticed two missiles light up and fire out of the darkness from where the RL stealth chopper was hidden.
“Brace for impact!” Dale shouted.
“You mean brace for evasive maneuvers,” Oliver said with a joyful chuckle.
“Oh boy,” Connor muttered nervously. Suddenly the dropship rocked around and around, side to side, and spun various barrel rolls. Olive pulled a sharp turn then cut the throttle while he was just under the cloud line. They all felt weightless for a moment. One of the missiles flew right over the dropship and lost its lock, speeding down to the city below. The other missile held its lock and was speeding right for the under belly of the dropship.
“Going up,” Oliver stated as he activated the vertical thrusters on the bottom of the dropship. Vapor Team was nearly slammed to the floor of the cabin. The missile missed the bottom of the dropship by only five feet as it and the dropship ascended in to the clouds. A flash of lightning illuminated the clouds and the missile ended up locking on the heat of the lightning instead and got lost in the clouds.
“Great work Tennis, keep climbing and then let’s head home,” John said with glee.
“Oorah!” Arden shouted excitedly. The dropship flew high above the clouds and far away from any possible Red Legion pursuit.
“And we’re on our way home now,” Oliver said with a grin. “Well done masters, I hope that I might work with you again after this.”
“Yeah, no kidding,” Arden replied. “You’re almost as good as I am at flying.” Everyone let out a hearty laugh at that. Silence then took over the dropship as Vapor Team thought deeply about what they discovered in the hospital. “We’ll beat them before they become any kind of real threat,” Arden said confidently, already knowing what Dale, John, and Connor were thinking.