The Infiltrators: A Revenger Mission Update!

super-soldier-in-reposeMorning Revengers! I hope everyone is well rested and alert, because today, we do what needs to be done and put an end to a conspiracy decades in the making. With Mike Tyrene dead and his code now cracked, a device which bestows superhuman ability is being sought out by shadowy forces. Even worase, there are shadowy forces who will stop at nothing to keep it to themselves. And so we go in…

As you all know, the mission consists of three phases. Phase one involves our advance team scouting out the approach to the building and taking down any sentries and security barriers. Phase two involves a breach and clear team hitting the storehouse itself and destroying the alien device housed within. Phase three involves the deployment of all our reserves should things get hairy or phase two fails.

Our advance team is already on the move, approaching the storehouse and assessing the defenders. Keep your ears attuned to the report now coming in from its members, Atrum Auditor, Erotica Girl, Pax and Styka. Keep your fingers crossed and hope they make it in without getting detected. Otherwise, this mission is over before it begins…

*                    *                    *

Even crouched, the ladies could feel the cool breeze rolling through the glen. The field leading up to their target was open and provided for very little cover, aside from the waist high grasses that ran up to the very outer wall surrounding it. No doubt, the field was once dotted with tall pines and maples, cut down long ago to give the defenders a clear view on potential intruders. At their feet, the dirt was soft and smelt of marshes. No doubt there were plenty of snakes and other nasty things crawling around in it.

Styka rose into a bent hunch to get a better look at the building in the near distance. With so much firepower and electronic barriers, they had little need to worry about people coming to stare and ask questions. If anyone even entered the outer premises, they would lose interest very quickly! Blaring klaxons and a dozen laser sights aimed at your face had a way of doing that to people…

Can you hear me? Styka messaged, sending her thoughts out to the one’s waiting several hundred meters away. Back where there was still forests for cover, several kilometers away from the main road, the intended recipient called back.

[Of course. We’re sitting tight. What do you see?]

[See for yourself.] Focusing all that her eyes and ears were reporting to her, she sent it all streaming back to the treeline, where Atrum and Pax were waiting and attuned to her thoughts. Within seconds, they were seeing all she was seeing. The open field, the tall mesh fence surrounding the main building, the men in black fatigues walking inside and outside of it. She was even able to bear down on them, using all the strength of her mind’s eye to hear what they were thinking, and see the weapons they had in their hands.

[Not very encouraging,] Atrum came back. [I can feel those men’s minds, not very soft and cuddly, are they?]

[Private military contractors, surely. I can see everything they have, right down to their utility belts. Is Smackdown in touch with you yet?]

[He’s in my right ear. Between him and you, I much prefer talking to you!]

Styka smiled. For several more seconds, she carried on this way with the two men. For Erotica Girl, it felt like an eternity. Huddled next to her, relying on her invisibility to keep her hidden from men prowling the field, she was not in the most patient of moods. Styka might know she was there by the mere presence she was casting in her mind. But Erotica, lacking the psychic means to link with her, had to trust that her friend had not wandered off. Silence was a killer under those circumstances.

“What’s the play?” she whispered. Styka was a moment in coming back.

“We’re just sizing up the defenders. I can sense six men prowling the field out here. They’re armed with MP5’s, automatics and unsuppressed. Three of them are close at hand and will have to go down.”

“Only three…” Erotica said, smiling a devilish smile. “They’re making this too easy.”

“We need to be careful. Anything too noisy and we’ll blow the whole op. I can sense where they are, but you can’t.”

“Just point me at mine,” Erotica insisted.

Styka took a deep breath, exhaled slowly. “Fine. Three o’clock is the closest one. I’ve got another one at ten. I’ll take him, you take the one to the left.”

“Meet you in the middle,” Erotica whispered, and slowly began to crawl her way forward. Styka did the same, and both began moving their way through the thick grass. Neither dared move faster than a snails pace, for fear that the movement would be seen from afar as something other than the wind dancing through it.

*                    *                    *

They waited as calmly as they could, all the while forced to feel every move and impact the girls were laying down. They could see the poor bastards as they walked unsuspectingly through the tall grass. One minute they were looking on, completely unaware of the silent, invisible person at their feet. The next minute, they were looking up at the sky, right before a boot or fist landed on them and turned their world to black.

And at the edge of their consciousness, cut off from that live psychic feed, Atrum and Pax maintained their private link with each other, discussing the plan one last time before its execution.

[As soon as they’re clear, we jump in and teleport into the building proper. The girls take down the last of the sentries, we disable the alarms before anyone can call for reinforcements.]

[I remember] replied Pax. [Seems inelegant compared to the last mission. What if we run afoul of additional security guards again?]

[In that case, be glad you can heal yourself. You won’t have to wait for someone else to remove the bullet for you.]

Pax chuckled internally. He had to remind himself sometimes that death was little more than a temporary inconvenience for him, and a genuine source of terror for others. He couldn’t imagine what it must be like, having to wait on others to undue the damage wrought by bullets, blunt objects or terrible falls. For that, he just had to wait and let nature take its course.

[How about this? Let me jump in ahead of you. Maybe I can distract anyone we run into long enough for you to get inside and cover my ass]

[Sounds like a plan] Atrum said at last. [Now hang on, I got the Captain buzzing me again]

Atrum placed his finger to his ear and broke off his link with Pax. Between the ladies in the field, their private conversation, and the audio bug in his ear, there was only so much he could do. One had to give so he could once again speak to the antsy commander waiting in the vehicle behind.

“Captain, Erotica and Styka are through the sentries guarding the field. They’ve spotted numerous guards posted behind the fence line though. We’re preparing to jump in. We’ll signal you once we’re inside.”

He let go the bug, hoping the Captain would take the hint. But of course, Smackdown wasn’t finished yet.

“Change of plans, I want my team to take to the air before you jump in. Once Tsunami, Angel and Panacea are up, that should distract whatever guards they got posted outside the base.”

Atrum noted the tone of his voice, placed his finger back to his ear.

“Sounds wise, Captain. Any reason for the change? You worried we can’t handle things?”

“No,” he said flatly. “Just that feeling I get, like we’re not seeing everything just yet.”

Atrum frowned. He had looked into their progress of their mission several times via his mind’s eye, found nothing out of the ordinary. Always, in situations like these, the outcomes could be blurry and grey, subject to all kinds of chaos and happenstance. But wherever there was something unmistakable, like a trap just waiting to close, he would see it. That kind of intent never failed to register.

“Alright, Captain. We’ll be moving as soon as you’re ready.”

“Standby,” Smackdown replied, and signed off.

Atrum released the bug again. He took a deep breath and tried to still the pounding in his chest.

[Everything alright?] Pax asked, reaching out to establish their link again.

[We’re going in. Captain’s about to launch a distraction.]

[Distraction?] Pax came back. [What kind?]

Atrum took another breath and began focusing inward, preparing to make the jump in. [Just wait for the sonic boom.]

RIP Hugo Chavez: Venezuelan Strongman and Master Troll

hugo_chavezThe death of Hugo Chavez, which took place on March 5th, has not only left a vacuum in Venezuelan politics, but deprived the world of one of its most prolific trolls. In his many years dominating South American politics, Chavez distinguished himself as more of a nuisance than a threat to US and western interests. But what a nuisance! And his tool of choice in this onslaught? Social media!

While he once thought Twitter was a tool of terrorism, Chavez became convinced it was an asymmetric tool to combat what he called a “conspiracy” of pro-American opponents. As a lover of hyperbole and over-the-top statements, how could he not take to a forum that rewarded such behavior? And like all good trolls, Chavez was evangelical in his vitriol, comparing his enemies to fascists and barbarians, making grandiose boasts, and dispensing exclamation points from a virtual pez dispenser!

And of course, his tweets kept pace with political intrigue, both domestic and foreign. In May 2011, when the U.S. State Department imposed sanctions against the Venezuelan state-run oil company PDVSA for selling gasoline reformate to Iran, Chavez’s cash-cow was blocked from receiving U.S. export licenses. In response, Chavez tweeted:

Sanctions against the homeland of [Simon] Bolivar? Imposed by the gringo imperialist government? Well: Welcome Mr Obama! Do not forget we are the children of Bolivar!

When Tripoli fell, the result of rebellions against Gadhafi and Coalition support, the long-time supporter of the Libyan dictator responded in the following way:

We must stop the unleashed imperial madness! World, good world, humane world, do not be overwhelmed by the barbarism!

And when Syria’s Alawite regime began to show signs of going the same way, also the result of uprisings from pro-democracy groups, Chavez moved quickly to declare his support for the Bashar Assad. In the midst of the regime using live fire to murder civilians, Chavez declared openly:

I talked a few minutes with the Syrian President, our brother Bashar. Syria is the victim of a fascist attack. God help Syria!!

And of course, he used Twitter plenty to disseminate plenty of self-serving propaganda at home. He dispensed advice on dealing with “traitors”, which amounted to a “raging socialist revolutionary offensive!” On accusations about poverty in Venezuela, he replied: “There is no poverty in Venezuela! Factory capitalism is poverty!” He also trolled an opposition primary debate: “The opposition is once again a fool!”

The US did not engage in flame wars with the former presidente, but the White House did release a statement offering condolences over his death. However a statement from President Obama on Tuesday evening was admittedly curt and seemed to hint that they were happy to be rid of his influence:

At this challenging time of President Hugo Chavez’s passing, the United States reaffirms its support for the Venezuelan people and its interest in developing a constructive relationship with the Venezuelan government.

Without a doubt, Chavez’ successor will have his hands full with regards to Venezuela’s economy and its internal political divisions. And I have to say, regardless of Chavez’s ongoing and annoying bombastic personality, he did pull much of Venezuela’s working class out of poverty. And even if you hated him, you had to admit, the man was interesting! RIP Hugo Chavez, you annoying bastard! Can’t imagine how quiet it’s going to be without you…