“You two always did look alike,” said Shiva. She wanted to sound like a bitch. This sentiment kept her sleep worthy. She needed it.
“Captain, the target?” responded the upset Lieutenant.
This was supposed to be a simple mission. Retrieve the target and leave. With Captain Shiva? Oh, this would be much more than a mission. It would be a blood bath for sure. Nobody ever saw this woman and lived if they didn't wear the Sword insignia upon their chest. Even then, she was cruel to her underlings.
“Zoness 5 in position.”
“Zoness 33 in standing by. Awaiting orders.”
Radios were supposed to be set to silence discipline. Not tonight. Not much was clear to reveal why this was a dark task to begin with. If they were going in banging around and making noise the cover of darkness didn't serve much of a purpose at all.
“Copy that 33, 5. Hold until further advised,” the leader responded with a head turning to the radio.
“Retrieve and leave, right ma’am?” asked Gognish.
She had to know. Eric knew her partner better than that though. Going beyond what protocol and what the law would allow was what the captain was known for. The only reason why she has not been brought to justice was because she was exceptional at covering her tracks.
Moving into this home was risky. Intel didn't fail this time around. This place was a drug house where there were sure to be armed combatants inside. Urban training came in handy for all of the 41st Sword Amazon unit. Still, their dress just wasn't suited for the night. A vibrant array of colors were on display. Hot pink to yellow and even some hints of blues in a tomboyish pattern were arranged in a tactical position, one behind the other.
Only five were needed. Every back was against a brick wall to the left of the entrance to the home. Feet were interlocked with legs to keep a tight grip upon what was called a “battle buddy.” It was a term stolen from the American military force.
Ak-47s were cheap and more practical for this fighting force. In order to pass basic training the trainee was required to create a functioning rifle using scrap pieces of metal. Shiva didn't use guns.
Shiva turned her head to Eric.
"And guy. We go silent. No firearms. Yes, the perps have 'em but we won't use them. We are the most technologically advanced fighting force assembled with exception to our military. Therefore we can do this without lead."
After the outbreak of gun violence that was higher than the already sky high gun violence deaths in America the utilization of firearms even by a police force was under a lot of scrutiny. Many officers of Velincia's rank had the saying, "every bullet is worth ten pages of paperwork so use a paperclip instead of a bullet."
“Prepare to advance,” said the commander of the unit. Shiva checked an arm band that doubled as a digital hologram display that wrapped around that same forearm.
The Captain turned her head towards her intelligence officer.
“Do a sweep. I want to know the number of all hostiles, how many weapons are readily available and who currently has hand possession of those weapons. I don’t care if those hostiles happen to be children. A minor can fire on someone and kill them just as effectively as an adult,” was the order.
Reluctantly, the Lieutenant shook off the mental cob webs of foreseeable guilt and began the process.
“Alright, beginning the scan.”
That trinity of an extra eye shot open. An invisible wave of kinetic energy surged throughout the area. All radios went dead as if some unseen force had drained their batteries of power. Information gathering was a delicate process. That was the one thing Shiva didn't have the capability of comprehending. Her face got in close with her Lieutenant’s.
“I don’t have all night. Get it done Lieutenant!”
Eric hated to be called out by rank.
“Done. Three hostiles in the back, two in the front, an adolescent in the rear bedroom towards the back door and a feline. Possibly just a house cat,” Gognish reported.
Shiva nodded. "Sounds like cake. Well, at least for us it would be. We're supposed to sit back and let the newbie take care of this. Right?"
"Yes. And I agree with reluctance."
"Scared for her?"
"Frankly? Yes. I'm scared for anyone in this situation. NACPD thinks that inserting a microchip into someone's brain and downloading critical training is somehow going to replace the real thing. Foolishness is the only word I can think of at the moment."
"Anybody ever tell you that you worry too much?"
"You tell me that all the time."
"And I'm afraid I'll have to say it again. You always said that trust is the foundation of teamwork. Lets just trust her. I can teach her everything I know but I can't hold her hand. Besides, me instructing her will be all the help she'll need."
"You instructing her is what I'm worried about," Eric thought to himself.
Shiva turned around and folded her arms. "Cadet Isenk, front and center."
With shaky feet and sweaty hands Samantha responded to the command. Her attire was different. The clothing that would have normally been threads were replaced with heavy body armor. She preferred black but only because it was night. The overall protection was comparable to that of a tank that was only smaller and fitted the female body a bit better.
"Sure you can walk in that shit? Don't know why you picked to wear this diving suit over something that'll allow you to scratch your own ass without flexing every muscle in your body," Shiva said.
Sam didn't respond. Twenty four hours hasn't passed yet and she was already used to that woman's criticism of everything that she did.
"If you want to forfeit your ability to move in tight spaces fine by me. But the next part of your training isn't training. It's the real thing. Understood?" the captain asked.
A nod was the response. Along with a, "yes ma'am."
"Good. You take all commands from the tower."
The cadet put on a puzzled face. Again, that was another old time military saying.
"Me. I'm the tower."
"Oh, right, you, tower, okay."
The captain slapped her forehead. "We really have to get to know each other better. But we'll save that for later if you live past tonight. Alright, so you got the run down already. Armed perps inside. Possible armed resistance and possible hostages. How do we respond?"
Cadet Isenk pondered for a moment. She wanted to give a snappy answer from the hip but she was being careful to not say the wrong thing. "Uh, well, I'd go in and try to negoti-"
"Eric, please, take over. I'll strangle her if she gives me another manufactured academy downloaded answer..."
Velincia was never the patient type. Eric knew this. That was why he put one of his six arms around the cadet's shoulders and pulled her away from the captain.
"Did I say something wrong?" Samantha whispered.
"Yes and no. See, we don't like people who, how should I say, act by the book?" he responded.
"So then how am I supposed to act?" she asked.
"You'll see. Captain Shiva wanted you to do this alone. As the logistics and training officer for this unit I do have the authority to step in whenever I think someone is going to be put into a bad situation. So, I'll be accompanying you on your mission," he said.
A sigh of relief came out of Sam. "Thanks. Having you around should make this a piece of cake."
"Really? Think so? Hate to burst your bubble but I detected automatic rifles. I can deflect two, maybe three bullets tops with telekinesis. I sure as hell ain't wasting that on saving someone else besides myself. Nothing personal. Just business. You understand, right?" he told her.
Samantha sighed again but this time it wasn't from relief. She raised her arm. It was then that Eric witnessed an augmentor of Sam's type. Each finger on her right hand, palm and wrist began to twist, turn and armor material peeled away.
"Sorry, this may be a bit unpleasant to see," she warned him.
"It's quite alright. I actually was looking forward to this," he admitted.
A transformation with combination of both flesh and metal occurred. What was once a hand and wrist was now a gun barrel with a large magazine containing bullets. Sam could transform her hand into tools and weapons that could fit any situation. Thus, the term "survivalist augmentor" fit her type pretty well.
"Impressive. You can go from handling a coffee mug to wielding a M21 assault rifle. Not bad. Know how to use it?" he asked.
"Let's find out," she said.
"Ah, spunky are we? That's how they all are until the shit hits the fan. And believe me the fan will spew it all in just a sec..." Eric turned towards the home. All the palms of his hands were grouped together in pairs of two with each combination of hands held out in front of him. The third eye upon his forehead opened.
Shiva was sure to move out of the way as well as the rest of the unit. When Eric's hands separated it was clear why the captain removed herself. A focused blast of telekinetic energy turned the front door into saw dust.
Eric reached to his side. A keypad was located on his hip. He began to dial in numbers on the pad. The arm brace that her wore began a downward spiral into his hand and formed itself into a rather small looking silver pistol. He turned his head towards the cadet.
"Shall we?" he asked.
"You know it," she assured him.
"Good. You take point. From now on we can talk with our minds. I'm opening a mental channel. Don't speak unless it's absolutely necessary. And without further deliberation lets go bag us some scum bags," he instructed.
"Music to my ears. Moving in!"
The inside of this home was huge. Sam stopped in her tracks shortly after rushing in with Eric following close behind. It was dark inside. There would be difficulty telling furniture from obstacles or people. The cadet reached to her side and dialed in a few numbers on a keypad similar to that of her higher ranking training officer. She balled her fist up and placed her right arm which was pointing forward on top of her left forearm. When she opened up the fist a light shinned brightly from her palm.
She jumped. A voice asked her a question in her mind. Eric's gentle hand was placed onto herself shoulder to calm her down.
"Don't worry. It's me. I told you just a second ago that I'll be contacting you through your thoughts but you're making it hard. Think of it like a computer. Hard to get a message through with all the pop up ads of worrying that you have. Calm yourself. Trust your training but most of all trust me," he projected.
"Sorry," she thought back.
The nervous officer waved her palm from left to right. When she looked up she realized that there were bullet holes in the ceiling. Something didn't seem right about the visions of a possible gun battle already going down here.
"You noticed it too? Seems like we're a little late if we wanted some action," Eric suggested.
She looked down and pointed her light towards the ground.
"No holes in the floor. Either there was a struggle here or..."
"You said you did a scan, right?"
"Yes, I did. What are you suggesting?"
"You can't always tell where is and electronic interference and block you from pinpointing. Correct?"
"Move!" Samantha shouted.
"I told you not to break mental communication. Follow or-" Eric's projection ceased when bullets began flying towards the ceiling again. The two of them found the gunmen. Actually the gunmen found them. They were in trouble.
Outside, Shiva and the crew heard shots fired. Normally she would trust Eric enough to leave things be. However, she distinctly remembered him saying that he and the trainee would do their best to neutralize the suspects without creating a scene.
"I knew that was too good to be true. Zoness units remain in place. I'm moving in alone. Don't follow. I say again, do not follow," she ordered.
Inside the house the flooring that Eric and Sam were both standing on collapsed. They fell into a pit. The cadet landed on her back while her trainer didn't get off as easy. Wooden debris was jabbed into Eric's left shoulder, he ended up with three broken arms and a bruised forehead.
Shiva stood over the circular hole where the two members of her team once stood. She looked down. Numbers were put into her personal pad and she created the same palm flash light that Sam summoned. The captain looked at her fallen teammates with concern. They weren't moving.
"Lieutenant! Cadet! You guys alright? I'm coming down," Shiva said.
A fall like that should have hurt a normal human worst than both of them were hurt. Samantha had an injury in the form of a few scratched epidural sheets and a few dents in her body. To any bystander it would become more and more obvious that the rookie was more machine than she was human.
That was the sound of Velincia landing on her feet. Samantha's eyes slowly opened and stared at the top of the opening at what was once a floor.
"How in the hell did she just fall like that and not end up like us?" Sam thought to herself.
"You're not the only one who has military parts. I read your files Ms. Isenk. You were once in the air force. Shiva was a marine at one point. Both of your bodies are superior to most of us," Eric projected.
"Eric! Eric!" Shiva shouted. She was bent over and tapping her friend on the side of the face. "Wake up you overgrown Smurf! Don't do that!" The lieutenant's eyes were getting heavier and heavier. She kept checking his pulse and breathing.
"Ma'am, something is wrong with me.." Samantha noticed that her vision was off. It had to be. One of her eyes had fallen out of the socket and that eye was attached to a black cord. She was in bad shape.
Shiva stood it. "It's dark down here. Pick up your eye and turn it sideways. Make sure the pupil is pointing up. Makes it easier."
The cadet followed the instructions. She retrieved her fallen body part. When she bent over to pick the eye up she felt pain in her abdominal area.
"Got it? Good. There's two lines. One is blue and the other is green. Looks like bands. Turn the green portion two clicks to the right and the blue one click to the left. Put your eye back in. Should help," the commander instructed.
All of the orders were done quickly. Once the eye was back in its proper place Shiva and Eric's bodies were glowing red with yellow and orange orbs inside the blood color. This was thermal imaging. Sam never knew she had this capability.
"When you signed up for the force you didn't know that a remote access code was unlocked in your AI systems. Since you already had military upgrades it was easy to do without having to implant anymore cybernetics. Even your arm can do more than you think it can," Eric projected.
"Is he going to be alright?" Sam asked.
"Yes. We all have regenerative cells in our bodies that heal over time. Yours, however, are different. The DoD wanted to make sure people like you could regenerate faster only during violent or combat situations," Shiva explained.
"Say what?" asked the rookie.
Eric sat up and looked at the trainee. This time around he spoke words as his energy was low. "In other words you either fight or die. You have internal bleeding. You are healing but not fast enough. Don't worry. We'll guide you," he said.
While Samantha wasn't excited that she'd have to go on with injuries she knew what her superior was telling her was the truth. "I'll go silent," she said before changing her arm from an automatic rifle into a cutlass type of shape.
"Use MTS. Maintain radio silence. I'll stay with him," said the captain. MTS was short for mental telepathy system.
The recruit moved on. She relied heavily on her thermals to keep an eye out for hostiles. There was an opening that appeared to be carved out in the rocky underground of the pit. Quick but silent feet navigated the lonely hole that served as the only entrance and exit point. Someone had to be firing at her and Eric from underneath. Whomever did so took a hasty retreat.
Sam stopped when she noticed heat signatures ahead. The recognition was small and probably nothing more than rats. That didn't mean she wasn't careful. She tapped her teched out eye twice which caused it to focus more and zoom in. That was no rat.
"Captain, we have rovers down here. Why didn't Eric see that?" Samantha projected.
"Cut him a break cadet. He can only search stuff above ground. Any deeper and there would be interference. He can't help you at the moment since that same interference is bothering him now. If there are rovers deal with accordingly. Shiva out," were the instructions.
"Easy for you to say..." Sam whispered.
As she moved closer a clearer image of what she had to deal with came into focus. No, these lacked guns. However, what was missing in firepower was more than made up for in ferociousness. The generic rover resembled that of a completely black and slender looking dog. These were not the type of pooches one could take home to spare from a stray's life. From head to toe the mechanical beasts were all metal, wielding razor sharp claws and jaws combined with superior senses.
This would be Sam's first combat situation outside of the military. She took a few deep breaths and went in for the kill. Her mouth opened for a battle cry and her hand was lifted up for a strike. It'd take her a few seconds to reach her first target given the fact that she was moving four times faster than what any normal human could have.
Before she got halfway a hand reached out and covered her mouth. A struggle occurred. Sam was forcefully turned around. She spotted the NACPD insignia. Someone else was here to assist. There was no heat signature from this person. She assumed it was one of the people she was here to apprehend or kill.
"Cadet, calm yourself," a voice projected.
"The hell? How did you get this MTS channel? Who are you? Identify yourself!" Samantha was confused.
"Calm down. He's one of us. I didn't want to say anything because he prefers people to not know he's around. Introduce yourself. Stop freaking out the new blood," Shiva projected to both people.
The only signature that Sam could see was the brass this person was wearing. Out of thin air came a person wearing a different type of uniform as compared to the rookie. All the outer wear was tighter fitting. A thin rectangle shape was attached to the back portion. Finally, heat was able to be recognized. The cadet readied her cutlass after seeing that this person had a ninja-like sword in their clutches.
An outline of red hair could be seen and glowing steel blue eyes along with a smile. An action of a bow was made. "Sergeant Xelic Montaine. Most just call me Zelly. Pleased to meet you Cadet Isenk. I'll be taking over the next portion of your training and the most important in my opinion; stealth," he projected.
His projection sounded French. She wanted to laugh. A French ninja? She thought it was a ridiculous concept given how she always perceived the French to be peaceful and the ninja being anything but.
"Alright. What do we do. If I get any closer they'll automatically detect me and I'm not even sure how many of 'em there are," she asked in thought.
Xelic held his sword in one hand and edged forward. "Observation my dear. They are not dogs in nature but are programmed to act like dogs. So they pace. If you had the proper training and knew to wait you would have known that. I blame leadership," he responded with his brain.
"I heard that..." thought Shiva.
"Sorry. I have an awful mind. Alright Ms. Isenk. Use your utilitool and try to use the flare gun," he instructed.
She didn't know how to do that. At least, at first she didn't. Just the mere mention of the type of tool made her mind, essentially, kick start. The second someone talked about something she should have known the knowledge was instantly available to her. Her arm went into a frenzy. The noise being made attracted unwanted attention. This would have to be quick.
When the flare gun was made she wouldn't need further guidance. Sam aired the barrel so that the round would be fired past the robot canines. She fired the flare. The rovers went after it as if it were a piece of steak. That was the opening they needed.
Xelic certainly didn't waste any time. "Shall we?" he asked in voice.
"We shall," she said.
They both ran forward. Sam was impressed with the man's foot speed. He must have been a later model made for quickness. The sergeant sheathed his sword and pressed buttons on the keypad to his side. His arm reached back as if he was going to grab his sword again. Instead of a blade being present a forearm sized firearm was on his back.
"Remington 921. I thought you said you were all stealthy. Why a shotgun?" she projected.
"Me and the Shiva served in the Marine Corp. together. We were both recon. She put in a good word for me and that's how I got this job. You know the average life expectancy of a recon marine once discovered?" he thought.
"No, I don't," was her response.
"Less than three seconds. You're running from the enemy. Better to have a shotgun to point back while you're running," he explained.
Short work was made of the rovers. A few butt strokes and shotgun shells along with twisted and mangled metal were the only remains. Xelic gave the recruit a pat on the shoulder.
"Good work. But I suspect we'll have company soon," he said before pointing at the ceiling that was lined with carefully planted cameras. It was easy not to notice them in the dark lighting. Sam could see them with her thermals.
They got a move on. Neither one of them wanted to be a sitting target. Towards the end of the tunnel was an opening. A light led the way. The cadet tapped her eye twice to return it to normal vision.
"Nobody's home," Xelic noted.
"That's what I'm worried about," Sam whispered.
Furniture that was clearly high priced littered the room along with viewing units for television and an assortment of weapons. The sergeant proceeded to rummage through an unlocked metal box to record evidence for a criminal trial if a culprit could be located. Sam, on the other hand, stood still. She was worried. Something didn't feel right to her.
"Everything alright? I detect that you haven't moved an inch," Eric thought.
"Guns, nice stuff, living space, and no one's here. Doesn't make sense. This is the perfect hideout because even you missed them. Can't blame me if I'm a little cautious," Sam thought back.
Her suspicions would gain merit. Xelic wasn't the only one who had the technology to cloak. Sentries appeared out of thin air. The idea was to lure the two of them into this room, get them snooping around and catch them off guard. If Samantha was as oblivious as her counterpart was the plan might have actually succeeded.
"Xelic! Look out!" she shouted.
A large black colored man stood right behind the sergeant. This hulking assailant pointed a similar shotgun to what the victim carried. The shot was fired. Sam panicked.
"They got Xelic!" she thought in fear.
There was no response on the MTS channel. No telepathic support. No Xelic. This was a horrible situation for her. Men surrounded her with sights trained on her forehead. Her hands pointed up to the skies with her right hand transforming into fingers with a palm and knuckles.
"Not so smart now are we?" asked one of the criminals with a deep voice.
The last thing Samantha remembered was having the backside of a rifle travel towards for her forehead. She blacked out.