Good afternoon Revengers! We go now to the field where our league of crime-fighting superheroes is taking to the field to locate and destroy a very dangerous artifact. As I’m sure you’re all aware by now, our mission to investigate the Tyrene Code turned up some very interesting information. Following the clues left behind by the famed artist and superhero, we have found our way to a government facility where the source of his powers appears to have been kept.
Our infiltrators managed to get within spitting distance of the facility and take down its sentries, but things may be taking an unexpected turn. As such, I, your humble Captain, have ordered our second team – the strike force made up of Veiled Tsunami, Dark Angel, Freedom Fighter and myself – into the fray. The security is tight closer to the facility and we’ll need all our initial assets committed to take them out in time.
We go now to the location to see what’s happening. I hope everyone brought there A game because there’s no way we’re pulling this off with anything less…
* * *
The door slammed shut and Smackdown raised his rifle. His hands were like a frantic, noisy mess, everything he did rushed and producing loud, angry clacks.
“Are you sure about this, Captain?”
His fingers were like a blur, one hand slapping a magazine in the bottom on the gun while the other slid the front end open to place a grenade inside. He looked up with mild annoyance to reply.
“Look, you people were the one who said you didn’t trust my source. Now you wanna second guess my being paranoid? C’mon, we’re going in?”
Freedom raised her hand in mock surrender, though her fingers began to tighten on her sword. She used her best diplomatic tone too, just to let him know she wasn’t prepared to use it on him yet.
“No one is second-guessing you, Captain. This just seems sudden.”
“She’s right,” said Tsunami, crouching by the front end of the vehicle. “I get the feeling you know something we don’t. Or you’re just not telling us.”
Smackdown looked angrily at her next. Her eyes were invisible behind her darkened glasses and her face stony, but her tone spoke volumes. He looked to Panacea who was standing quietly next to her. Even she didn’t appear to be offering him the benefit of the doubt right now. Even her with her usually gentle demeanor.
Great, he thought. Surrounded by women, any one of whom could probably kick my ass, and I got to go and try to assert dominance over them!
“Look, I don’t know anything at this point,” he said coolly. “But I get the feeling we made it here too easily, and we’re finding our way to their front door like someone left’s it open. Feels wrong, that’s all I’m saying.”
Freedom looked to Tsunami. She wished she knew what had happened during his supposed meeting with that “Source” of his. Ever since that ended, he had been in a mood. She Tsunami was in the know, but not her. And the only other person she could ask was waiting behind, part of their team of last resort.
“So what’s our plan?” asked Panacea.
Smackdown took a deep breath and looked to their resident Goddess. Somehow, seeing her always did much to lift people’s moods. She suspected that was why he made it a habit of keeping her around. Calmer now, a plan began to form on his head and trickled out of his mouth.
“I want you two ladies,” he indicated Tsunami and Freedom, “to do a quick fly over. Get their attention and then swoop in, see if they’re stupid enough to start shooting. I’m thinking that will give Atrum and Pax enough time to teleport inside. Once they’re in, we start hitting the guards with everything we got. Depending on what the situation is inside, I think it’s fair to say the confusion will mess them up and make them that much easier to beat.”
“Captain?” Panacea said, an eyebrow raised inquisitively. “How are you to get in there? You planning on taking the car again?”
Smackdown smiled wryly. Yes, of everyone in their team, he was the only one not particularly gifted with the ability of flight. And he was the last person who needed to be reminded of that.
“I’m glad you asked,” he said, equally wryly. “You get to carry me, Panacea. We go in the second the ladies make their second pass and our boys with the means of teleporting pop up inside. And if we catch any flack, I fully expect you to heal me. That okay with you?”
Freedom cleared her throat and shuffled her feet. No one had ever seen her scowl or frown before, but Freedom suspected this was the closest she could manage. As the one to ask him about his apparent limitations, she had clearly volunteered – or grabbed the short straw, as it were.
“Sure thing, Captain. Whenever you’re ready.”
“Ladies, first,” Smackdown replied and looked in their direction. “Freedom, good to go?”
“Always, Captain,” she replied. Smackdown nodded and turned his attention to Tsunami.
“How about you, Hawa? You feel ready for this?”
Hawa stood up and looked to be scowling behind her eyewear. Though it was hard to tell with her. Her face always seemed to be poised on the edge of a frown, ready to spit flame at a moment’s notice.
“Why wouldn’t I be?” she asked.
“No reason,” said Smackdown, quickly. “It’s just that we may be on the verge of finding the artifact your father was working on. I know you must have some feelings about that.”
“None I care to share,” she said coolly. Smackdown eventually nodded and left it at that. Tsunami never really did like to talk about such things. He had thought that at this juncture, there might be something, but apparently there wasn’t.
“Alright then. You and Freedom are up. Give em a good show, cuz when you come back around, I expect those guards to emptying their clips at you.”
That elicited a smile. “They won’t see me coming, Captain…”
“But they’ll know we were here when it’s all over,” added Freedom, her shimmering sword now reflected in Tsunami’s glasses. Side by side, they looked like something out of a childhood dream, or a villain’s worst nightmare.
For a moment, Panacea and Smackdown simply stared at the pair and felt a strange chill. Panacea was not the type to deal in cryptic talk and reasoning, but the Captain was clearly drawing some grim encouragement from it. As dark as any of his people could be, at least he knew they could be counted on to deliver.
What’s more, he knew that they were right. By the end of the day, the poor bastards manning the fence lines would be very sorry they ever got stuck with guarding this particular facility. When the dust settled, anyone still conscious would be looking for a new line of work and hoping it had comprehensive medical coverage.
He almost felt sorry for them…
* * *
Styka’s haunches were beginning to cramp and her lower back was screaming out for relief. Not far away, she heard Erotica grunting quietly to herself, no doubt nursing the same aches from all the crouching and waiting. The grass continued to brush by their faces as they kept them poked just high enough to see the fence line before them. And in the distance, they could hear one of the men guarding it barking through a radio.
“Alpha team, report in, please… Alpha team, what’s your status, over? Alpha team!”
“We can’t just sit here…” Erotica whispered to her. Styka kept her eyes fixed on the nearest man and the weapon he had hanging in front of him. She wondered just how quickly he could get to it before she smashed the helmet he wore in with her boot. He would be an easy enough takedown, but there were plenty more within shooting distance who would see it.
And at this distance, any sudden movements would surely be noticed. She surmised that her and Erotica could take two, maybe even four down between them before they started firing wildly. Then, anything could happen…
“I’m waiting, but I’m getting nothing,” she said, reaching out again and again. Atrum wasn’t answering, nor Pax, and her attempts to reach farther were met with the same absence. It was like trying to make a call, only to find the lines were dead.
[Atrum, Pax, where are you? What’s the Captain saying to you?]
Nothing. No one reaching out with instructions, no indication or new orders. And they were hip deep in enemy agents with automatic weapons. Moving in any direction seem ill advised.
“Forget this, I’m going in,” said Erotica. Moving from a hunched stance to a crouch, she prepared to leap forth like a spring-loaded predator. Styka eyed the man she had in her sights and called out to her as loud as she dared.
[Styka] the familiar voice in her head sounded. [Duck and cover!]
She had no time to send a reply before a crack from overhead sent her reaching to her ears. Next to her, Erotica went from crouched and ready to practically hugging the ground. The thunderous roar from overhead seemed to have the same effect on everyone in the area, sending everyone down in a desperate search for cover.
“What the hell -?” she cried out. Over the sound of ringing in her ears, she could just barely make out the faint wisps of something cutting through the air overhead. Her dizzied eyes turned skyward and picked up the faint trails of two streams dancing back and forth through the clouds.
And then another sound, this one coming from within… [Styka? Can you hear me?]
“What the-?” she said aloud, before switching to her inner voice. [Atrum? Is that you?]
[Yes, Styka. Sorry about the short notice. Are you ready?]
[Ready for what?]
Again, there was no time to formulate a reply. All at once, the air changed around her, expanding outwards with a pop to admit a presence that hadn’t been there a second before. Just as quickly she felt hands closing around her. She got a glimpse of the face just in time to scold him.
“Pax? What’s going on?”
“We’re going in!” he yelled. He looked to his right, gave a thumbs up. Styka followed the direction of his site and saw Atrum negotiating an embrace with Erotica. Unlike her and Pax, they seemed to be having an easier time of it though.
“Ready?” he said, quite pointlessly.
“Fine. What’s one more shock?” she said, and took his hand. He grabbed hold of her shoulder with his other hand and closed his eyes. Styka did the same, knowing the experience she was about to go through was anything but comfortable.
Another pop, and then they were gone…
* * *
Stay tuned for the exciting conclusion to the latest Revenger mission! Despite all that’s happened so far, I promise you that things are just getting started…