The Final Fight, part I
September 4th 2134, Forty miles outside of Moscow, Russia
“Corpus is here,” Dale said. Vapor Team was inside a large tent in the middle of the forward most command post in Russia. Several other FKA soldiers were lingering about in the tent, waiting for the next step to be announced by HQ. They all exited the tent to find hundreds of helicopters; both transport, stealth, and attack choppers alike buzzing every which way overhead. APCs, tanks, and Transport Vehicles of all types were rolling every which way on the ground. On the horizon they spotted several mobile artillery batteries. Fighter jets and fast movers screamed through the air overhead.
“This is going to be a fight to remember,” Dale said with a smirk behind his visor. Amidst all the chaos the command post had going on, Vapor Team spotted a transport chopper, escorted by two attack choppers, flying straight to the center of the base where they were at.
“Yup, that’s Corpus alright,” Connor pointed out. The two escort choppers broke formation and hovered above the center of the base, while the transport chopper landed on a nearby open dirt field in the middle of the command post. Vapor Team began walking towards the chopper as they noticed the door slide open. Two heavily armed FKA soldiers exited and stood at attention, and then Corpus exited. Corpus stopped and stepped to the side of the chopper, turned toward the open door and saluted.
“Could it be?” Arden asked.
“I think so,” John replied slowly. Vapor Team quickened their pace to a jog and reached the chopper just in time to salute with Corpus. General Clay stepped out of the chopper and saluted them back. Clay was wearing a tattered light tan t-shirt that showed his rather muscular body that was never seen behind the usual general suit apparel. He was also wearing camouflage khaki shorts. They all finished their salute and stood tensely. Vapor Team knew that if Clay was here, something serious was about to go down.
“Isn’t this a nice little reunion,” Clay said to keep things a little lighthearted. He knew that the task ahead would require clear minds and bravery beyond measure. There was no room for shaky nerves.
“It’s been a long time sir,” John replied.
“Indeed,” Clay agreed. “I trust you all have been doing well?”
“Well,” Dale motioned to the various battle scars that him and Arden, Connor, and John recently received. “Been better,” Dale joked. Clay smiled widely. Suddenly Major Nellon exited the transport chopper holding a very large equipment case in her hands that almost took up her whole arm span in length. Clay turned around and noticed her behind him.
“No need to carry that for me Major, I can manage,” Clay said taking the case from Nellon.
“Yes sir,” Nellon replied as Clay took up the case in his hands. She glanced at Dale and Dale noticed, glancing back.
“Major,” Dale greeted.
“Shadow,” Nellon responded. They both stared awkwardly at each other for a second, and then looked away. Everyone was in full battle armor except for Clay. Two soldiers still inside the chopper slid the door shut and the chopper lifted off and flew to another part of the command post along with the escort attack choppers.
“Corpus,” Clay addressed. “Are the skies and space secured of any hostile predator drones or satellites? Do we have a sealed perimeter?”
“Yes sir,” Corpus replied.
“Excellent,” Clay said. He turned his head to look at everyone around him and said, “Walk with me.” Vapor Team, Nellon, Corpus, Clay, and the two guard soldiers behind them all walked in to the War Room tent. When they entered, a motion sensor at the door noticed them. Two floodlights at opposite corners of the tent, computer monitors, and a 3D blue hologram of Russia in the middle of the tent flared to life. All of them surrounded the hologram of Russia. Dale crossed his arms, Corpus brought his hands behind his back and clasped them, Arden leaned on the hologram projector, Nellon put her hands on her hips, and both Connor and John brought a hand up under their chins. Clay however, laid down the equipment case he held next to the projector and began typing in a passcode on the side of the case.
“What’s in there?” Connor asked curiously.
“Some cool device to help us win the war?” Dale hoped. Clay remained quiet as he finished typing in the passcode. The case unlocked with a clang and Clay lifted the top off. Inside was a set of battle armor that was colored the usual silver, but with golden stripes. Clay took the helmet out of the case and brought it up to his eye level, gazing in to the visor.
“No gentlemen,” Clay started. “I’m going to be joining you in this next engagement.” He returned the helmet to the equipment case.
“Pardon my mouth sir,” Dale began. “But fuck yeah.” Everyone laughed at Dale’s comment.
“Okay everyone listen up,” Clay turned and faced the hologram. “We finally have a plan of attack to end this war. It’s going to require courage, skill, teamwork, perfect timing, and absolutely no room for mistakes. Our forces in East Asia are mopping up the rest of the RLA resistance there, so the only major hostile capital city that remains is Moscow. Based on Vapor Team’s intel gathered from last week’s insurgence, we can only assume that the Red Legion headquarters is located in or around Krietchner hospital. RL drones and satellite defenses prevent any airstrikes or orbital bombardments of this location.” The hologram zoomed in to Moscow and showed the city block that Krietchner hospital was located on. “RL mortars and AA flak cannons have a solid perimeter secured around the city as well.” The hologram zoomed out to show the entire city of Moscow, as well as twenty miles past the perimeter of the city. A ten mile wide section of land that lined the city edge changed to a bright red color to highlight the kill zone of the RL mortars. “Now I know Vapor Team, that you four are unstoppable together. I’m afraid however, that this time we need your skills in every part of this plan.”
“You’re splitting us up?” Connor figured.
“Correct,” Clay continued. “We are going to send a massive ground assault in to the city, but we can’t do that without disabling the RL mortars. Shadow, since you’re the best at ruthless destruction, you get to take the mortars out of commission.” Dale only chuckled to acknowledge Clay’s plan. “Take a dropship above enemy lines with as many eight pound PE4 bombs as you can carry. Make your way around this section of the city and destroy every mortar and artillery battery.” The hologram highlighted a small portion of the west side of Moscow in yellow to illustrate Clay’s plan. The yellow area flashed twice then faded back to blue, and the red area of land outside the section of the city near Dale’s area of operation did the same.
“This will allow our ground force to invade the city with much less difficulty. Now I understand that this task will be impossible without assistance or some sort of distraction. Fortunately, the distraction is actually the heart of this plan. As I said before, orbital bombardment of Krietchner hospital is a no go, unless someone destroys the RL drones in geosynchronous orbit above Moscow. Fog, this is your job.”
“Yes sir,” Arden said with a nod.
“You’ll take the same dropship with Shadow and destroy all RL drones in the space above Moscow. After this we will deploy a new weapon we’ve developed.” The hologram faded out and flared back to life, showing a schematic of an orbital Space To Ground Laser. “This space to ground laser, or SGL, is a heavy super-heated laser that when fired, has a diameter of forty meters wide. It’s very powerful and will melt or destroy almost any metal. We are going to use this to bore straight down in to Krietchner hospital, all the way to the subterranean facility underneath. We’re launching it from an offsite launch platform near the edge of Russia. It will be in route while you carry out your mission Fog, so get it done at a proper pace. After the SGL fires, we will send down a strike team from all of the dropships that we can muster. This strike team will be none other than,” Clay stopped and looked at Connor. “The Designated Marksman’s.”
Connor nodded his head slowly and said, “Understood, sir.”
“Your mission is to infiltrate the hospital and make your way down in to the lower levels. Dispatch any and all opposition you face, but most importantly, eradicate the Elite Blade and any military officials down there. It’s not going to be easy, but you all can do it. Fog, if you get the chance, help them out.”
“What about me sir?” Mist said.
Clay turned to John and smiled, “You get to lead the ground force. You’ll be the one to lead us all in to the city, and to victory.”
John nodded and said, “Yes sir General.”
“As for me, I’ll be on the ground to assist you Mist. Colonel, Major,” Clay said addressing Corpus and Nellon. “I’m giving you free reign to decide where you want to participate in this plan.”
“With all due respect sir,” Corpus began. “I think the weakest part of this plan is with Shadow’s task. He’s the only one on the ground by himself. I’m going to go with him.” Clay nodded in acknowledgement.
“That’s still only two of you. You sure you don’t want the Major to come with you Shadow?” Arden joked. Nellon glared at Arden.
“How about I go with you instead?” Nellon said to Arden.
Arden shrugged, “alright.”
“Good, we all have our orders,” Clay said as he shut down the hologram. “This is going to be the greatest undertaking the Freedom Knights’ army has ever done. This is either the end of the war, or a chance for the Red Legion to strike back. This is our finest hour. It all comes down, to this. There is no room for mistakes.” Clay paused for a few seconds. “Do what you need to, to get ready. Everyone moves out at O’ five hundred.” Clay turned and left the tent. Nellon nodded to them all, then looked at Arden and Dale.
“I’ll meet you at the dropship yard,” Nellon said, then left the tent too. The two escort soldiers left the tent as well.
“Well Dale, formalities aside, you wanna have a little cigar break before we get ready?” Corpus asked with a smile behind his visor.
Dale smiled himself and said, “Just chill?”
“Just chill,” Corpus replied. “Connor, John, good luck. And Arden, I’ll see you at the dropship yard.” Dale and Corpus left the tent and Arden followed. Connor and John glanced at each other.
“You ready to rock?” Connor asked.
“Well, truth be told I’m a little nervous,” John replied shakily. “I’m leading almost the entirety of the Freedom Knights’ Army.”
Connor laid his hand on John’s shoulder and said, “You’ll do great man. I’ll see you on the other side right?”
John laid his hand on Connor’s opposite shoulder and replied with a smile, “Oh yeah.”
Arden stared at a weapons table in front of him inside an armory tent. Various guns of all models and calibers were laid out on the table. He picked up a shotgun and two pistols, as well as plenty of ammunition. Then he looked towards the end of the table and eyed an unguided rocket launcher. He walked to the end of the table and picked it up and slung it on his back. Afterwards he filled up a backpack with as many rockets as it could carry. I’m going to need these for the drones and satellites, Arden thought. Lastly, he strapped on a vacuum thruster pack to his back and completed his loadout. Arden turned around and almost ran in to a soldier standing directly behind him.
“Fog! It’s me!” the soldier said excitedly.
“Oh yeah!” Arden replied sarcastically. “You’re that guy who looks just like everyone else around here.”
“Oh yeah, duh,” the soldier said as he took off his helmet. “It’s me, Luther!”
“Oh, hey Luther,” Arden said slightly surprised to see him again. “What have you been doing over the past month?”
“Oh, just the same stuff we’ve all been doing right? I’ve been getting caught in worthless engagement after worthless engagement. I’m glad we finally have a plan to end this war. Well, I haven’t actually been told the whole plan though. I’ve just been told that the mortars will be out of commission by a special strike team and that invading the city will be easier.”
“Umm, yeah, that’s pretty much the plan,” Arden said with a smirk.
“Are you part of that strike team?”
“You could say that.”
“Whoa! No way!” Luther said in awe. “Maybe I’ll see you once we reach the city.”
“Maybe,” Arden replied with a shrug. “By the way, did you know that Mist is going to be leading the ground force?” Luther nearly fainted after hearing that.
“You mean I get to fight under another Vapor Team soldier’s command again?”
“Mhmm,” Arden replied.
Luther smiled really wide and stuttered, “I can’t wait! Anyways, I’m sure you have things to do, I’ll see you on the battlefield sir!” Luther saluted Arden. Arden saluted back and left the tent, heading to the dropship yard.
Connor walked up to a medium sized tent that the Designated Marksmen’s were gathering in. A lone DM was sitting on an equipment case with his PMR and helmet on the ground next to him. He was playing a harmonica and had his eyes closed, focusing on the tune he was playing. His name was James Ikangwonu. He was also Connor’s closest friend among the DM’s. James was a thinner black man that was surprisingly just as tall as Connor.
Connor stretched open his arms and said, “James!”
James stopped playing his harmonica, opened his eyes and looked up at Connor. He showed a gigantic grin, set his harmonica down and bounded off of the case he was sitting on. “Smokey!” James greeted Connor as he hugged him for a brief second. “It’s been so long man.”
“Tell me about it, I haven’t seen a single DM in months.”
“Well you’ll be happy to know then that we are all right in there,” James pointed with his thumb to the entrance of the tent behind him. “Let’s go have a little reunion shall we?”
“Sounds good,” Connor replied with a smile. James and Connor stepped in to the tent and almost instantly, the forty-three DM’s gathered inside sprang to life when they saw Connor.
“Smokey!” They all shouted with cheer. They overwhelmed Connor with high fives, fist bumps, hugs, and pats on the back and head. The bond between a DM and his fellow DM was very, very strong. One of the DM’s handed Connor a PMR. Connor took it and caught up with all of his DM brothers, then filled them in on the plan Clay had formulated, as well as what to expect from the Elite Blade and the assassins. After Connor finished mingling with all of his DM brothers, he found James again.
“So how have the DM’s been doing since I left to work with Vapor Team?” Connor asked James.
“They’ve been doing great, even better than before you left,” James replied. James was left in charge of the DM’s after Connor had left. “They’re reaction time is quicker, they’re accuracy is better, and you won’t believe the teamwork that we’ve been working on.”
“I can’t wait to see us all in action then.”
“They’ve already talked about who is going to lead us in to the hospital.”
“Nope, they want to fight under your command once again,” James said with a grin.
“Are you okay with that?”
“Are you kidding! You kick some serious butt, I’m with them on this one.”
Connor chuckled and continued, “Well I’ll do it then. Before we go, make sure everyone has PMRs, jetpacks, and plenty of grenades.” They both shared a smile. “It’s good to see you again James.”
“Nice to see you too, Connor,” James replied quietly with a grin.
“Chill,” Dale said as he puffed his cigar.
“Chill,” Corpus agreed.
Nellon stood near the edge of the dropship yard, waiting for Connor, Dale, Arden, Corpus, and the rest of the Designated Marksmen. She was outfitted with a vacuum thruster pack, an assault carbine, and a rocket launcher. She spotted Arden, Dale and Corpus walking her way.
“I thought it was bad manners to keep a lady waiting,” she said with a hand on her hip.
“Like I care?” Dale returned bluntly. Nellon rolled her eyes.
“So we’re taking a single dropship for all of us right, while Smoke and the DMs take their own separate dropships straight to the hospital?” Arden asked to confirm the plan.
“Right,” Nellon answered. “Speak of the devil, here they come now.” Connor and the DMs were proceeding in to the dropship yard.
“Gangway!” one of the DMs shouted. The DMs sometimes enjoyed acting like the Freedom Knight bad boys.
Connor reached them and glanced back at the DMs, then looked at the other four and said, “That hospital doesn’t stand a chance.”
“So the plan is in place, and everyone is ready to move out,” Corpus proclaimed. “It’s eight o’clock right now. Let’s all try and get some rest. We have a big day ahead of us tomorrow, and we have to be ready to move out by five tomorrow morning.”
“Sleep sounds good,” Arden agreed as he walked off to a nearby barrack tent. Corpus did the same. Connor and the DMs returned to the tent they were in before. Dale and Nellon stood awkwardly together in the dropship yard.
“Umm, look,” Dale began. “You want to spend the night next to me?” For some reason Dale couldn’t figure out, he felt like he should be a gentleman to Nellon for once. He also felt bad for Nellon not having any fellow soldier acquaintances to stay with as well.
“You want me to sleep next to you tonight?” Nellon asked in disbelief.
“If you don’t want to that’s fine.”
Nellon thought for a moment and replied, “Okay, why not?” She walked with Dale to a nearby barrack.
“Just don’t expect this kind of treatment often,” Dale said quickly in an attempt to not seem soft. Nellon laughed and smiled. The entire Freedom Knight army settled down and rested for the night.