Hope has a strange way of playing with men. It hits them when they think all is lost, lifting their spirits. And just as capriciously leaving them in the lurch when it suits it. Commander Smith didn’t like to hope, he had been let down before. But this night of all nights, he was having a torrid affair with it.
“Commander, the attack…should we do something about it?”
Smith’s face was grim, as he pondered over his future course of action.
“Okay, Harrison, get me there now.”
2305hrs Building B
“Hey, you get out of there.”
The LitPol officers fired off a couple of warning rounds but Spockeh’s estimation of the cover had been good. It held up against the enemy fire.
“I was born ready.”
“Let’s do this.”
“Yippee ki yay, motherf…”
The rest of the sentence was drowned out in the explosion from the three concussion grenades Scorch had hurled in the general direction of the LitPol.
The impact knocked them over. Spockeh and Scorch took their chance to speed off down the corridor in the other direction.
“Come in Digger, Trucker. What is your status?”
A lot of static greeted Spockeh’s frantic voice.
Scorch and Spockeh looked at each other, a little bit of fear creeping into their eyes. They kept running till they reached the end of the corridor, and nearly ran right into another LitPol, this one brandishing an MP5.
“Hold it right there, intruders.”
Spockeh whispered to Scorch under his breath, both of them standing perfectly still.
“Got any more bombs?”
“Not right now.”
Spockeh looked at the LitPol and began to smile. The LitPol noticed it and raised his gun even further, before falling to the ground unconscious. Ninja stepped forward, over the LitPol’s body, seeming quite pleased with his perfect karate chop. He had snuck up on the LitPol unnoticed by everyone but Spockeh.
“Ninja, nice to see you man.”
“Same here, guys. What happened?” Ninja replied as he picked up the dropped MP5.
“Some kind of a trap, we can’t raise any of the others on radio.”
This small conversation cost them precious minutes as LitPol officers crowded in on both sides of them.
“There’s too many to karate chop.” Ninja remarked wryly.
Spockeh nearly shouted “Then how do we get out of here?!”
The answer drove through the wall into the corridor a few feet away from them.
“Trucker, Bugger, are we glad to see you!” The four quickly jumped into the heavily modded armoured LitPol truck parading as an SUV, as LitPol gunfire bounced off its bulletproof chassis.
“We heard your distress call, but we needed to maintain radio silence. We picked up this baby on the way. The LitPol’s have some sweet rides.” Trucker remarked admiringly, as he revved up the engine and drove out of the building.
Spockeh began to issue orders, “Digger, see if you can get me a live satellite feed of this place, I want the location of all LitPol troops near us. Ninja, give us cover fire with the MP5. Trucker, back to our original evac point. I’ll try to raise Pheniox on the radio again.” Spockeh switched on his com set and said, “Pheniox, Bugger, come in, I repeat, we are under fire, what is your status?”
The com set buzzed a few feet away from Pheniox, on the dashboard of the Ford, but she couldn’t answer it, not in her current situation. Neither could Bugger, who was lying unconscious on the ground. She breathed rapidly as she felt the cold steel at her back. The man in the trenchcoat spoke again, “I told you, I don’t want to hurt you. Just tell me the location of your new Safe.”
Pheniox spit on the ground, before saying, “I don’t know where it is, and even if I did, I wouldn’t tell you, Antagonist scum!”
“Scum is an illegal word. But we’ll let that pass. Just tell me, and I’ll let you and your friends live. I don’t want to deal with you.”
Pheniox sneered, “Yeah, you’ll just let us go. You can barely deal with us.”
The man laughed mirthlessly, “You think so? I thought it was my tracer that had malfunctioned. I didn’t think you’d be stupid enough to actually invade a military base right after you fled and blew up the Safe. No, I need to speak with someone higher up. What was that?”
Pheniox replied, “What was what?”
Commander Smith had heard the roar before the girl had, as the armoured LitPol SUV barged through the trees into the clearing, near the Ford. Five of them got out of the SUV with incredible speed. Smith knew how the situation would look to them and decided to use it to his advantage.
“Don’t move, or I cap your female friend here.”
He saw the others freeze in their tracks, and said, “Now, which of you knows the location of the new Safe?”
A second later, there was a flash of black, and the Commander lay on the ground. Pheniox finding herself free, ran towards Spockeh. Smith tried to rise up and look for the cause of his sudden fall, but the cloaked figure, deftly kicked both Smith’s hands with his right leg, and something metallic skittered away. Ninja watched in admiration as the new arrival proceeded to execute his finishing move.
Brendan waited for the man on the ground to recover, waiting to deliver the coup de grace, but then thought better of it, after he heard a gun being cocked. He turned around to see a man in pilot gear, pointing a small handgun at him.
“Step away from the Commander. And you there, don’t bother firing; you’ll just call LitPol attention.” The pilot spoke as he gestured towards Ninja. Brendan backed away; he’d realized the pilot was right, and anyway his main target was the safety of the Protagonists. The pilot moved towards the man on the ground, checking his pulse while keeping the gun trained on them with his other hand. Brendan realized that the pilot was only interested in the safety of the man he had called the Commander, and decided that it was the appropriate time to get away, even though his mind was asking a thousand questions. He did not want to leave witnesses, but he had no option.
The pilot, satisfied that the Commander was alive, said, “Get out of here. I’ll hold them off for a while.” Brendan didn’t wait to think too much about why he was helping them; he quickly herded Spockeh and the others into the armoured SUV, while Trucker picked up Bugger’s unconscious body and brought it in. Brendan took the wheel, and hightailed it out of there; still not entirely sure of what happened. From the looks on the faces of his car-mates, they were equally stunned.
It was after they had traveled a while, that Spockeh’s mind slid back into place. He had not even bothered to find out who he was being rescued from or being rescued by. And then a worse thought struck him.
“Turn it around, we have to go back. Turn this around!!”
The man at the wheel looked at him obliquely and said, “The place is going to be swarming with LitPols by now, you have a deathwish or something?”
“No, we have to go back, the Protagonize laptops, they’re still in our truck!!”
When Commander Smith came to in the safety of his helicopter, flying north, he saw the collection of laptops they had recovered from the Protagonists’ vehicle, and he felt that familiar tug of hope again.