ParallelA Story by Arctic Fox
I've updated it. You'll see two sides of Kenny, the punk civilian and the strong headed soldier (CPT/LTC)
Log-line: A thrill-seeking anti-terrorism officer must face his past with the help of his wife and alter-ego to save a state-of-the-art new city.
Intro: New Aquarius
The wind blew the strings of Kenny’s hoody as he stood on the roof of the ten story building. He stared down at the street below. He had just left from his ex-fiancé’s wedding. It was beautiful, and sickening all at the same time. He laughed to himself. He did not have an invitation and she was not happy when he strolled up into the church. With a laugh and a finger he turned and left a very pissed off bride. She cheated on him in the first place.
Kenny was around six feet and just under two hundred pounds. The army had made him fit and strong. He had close cropped red-brown hair and green-gold eyes. He had spent his time in hell and came back to tell the tale. He wore two leather wristbands.
Kenny watched the cars pass like vibrant dots across the street below. He turned to see Rayne walk up to him. She had on a pair of blue jeans and black tank top. Her shoulder length hair framing her light skin tone and beautiful blue eyes. She wore a black and white checkered choker with a bell on the throat. She had not wanted him to make an appearance at the wedding. It had taken far too long for him to ditch the cops.
They sat down dangling their legs over the edge of the building. The setting sun burnt the horizon with its light. Kenny had been thinking a lot; his face calm and unemotional. So much had brought him to this point in his life. He still had his whole life to live. He had wanted to die when the w***e left him, but Rayne refused to let that happen.
Rayne put her head as his shoulder as he wrapped his arm around her waist. They kissed for a while as the moon made her way up into the night sky. The sound behind them startled them out of their embrace. Kenny and Rayne turned to see their friends climbing the ladder up to the roof.
“Are you ready to go,” Alex said. Petite with dirty blonde hair and blue eyes. Alex was the shortest of the seven on the roof. Paige had a ready smile with brunette hair. She was not as busty as Rayne, but had Alex beat by far. Dallas stood tall with black slacks, button up shirt, red, with black vest. He wore his fedora. Scott had on a hoody as well, his white. He was sporting tan cargo shorts and leather sandals. Eric wore a white bandana, blue jeans, and a shirt with his favorite band on it.
“Yeah. Let’s get this over with and be done with it. Kenny got up and took Rayne by the hand. They turned their backs on the city and climbed down into the alleyways. They took a few back alleys till they found the old three story warehouse by the docks. The lights were on as they had been every night for seven years. No one asked questions and no one snooped around. Those who did, more often then not did not speak of what they found. They did not, because they could not; they were a part of the city’s underground world.
Kenny stepped inside with his friends behind him. The hallway had only one other person in it. A giant Chinese man on a stool by the only other door in the hallway. He nodded to them as they passed him. The door opened to a rush of sound and light. The bottom level held a massive rave, lights, DJ, ecstasy, and date rape drugs galore.
The seven of them continued to the second level. The third was just catwalks. A massive crowd formed a giant circle. Several people called out to the seven when the recognized them. Mostly they opened a path to the center of the circle. They all gathered around a giant mat. It had just been cleaned from the last bloody mess on it. Kenny walked up taking off his hoody. He wore a plain white shirt underneath. He was not rippling with muscles and he was not lean either. He was stocky and had a slight pudge. It fought hard to stay with him and not tone down to a six pack, though it hid extremely strong abs beneath it.
The crowd cheered as he throw a wad of cash to the judge and stepped onto the mat. He bowed by tradition and donned his gloves. Custom black and white fight gloves. Each one had his nickname on the backs which the crowd began chanting over and over.
“Fox! Fox! Fox! Fox!”
Someone called out from the crowd. Kenny did not catch what was said, but he knew what it meant. A six foot five, all muscle Russian stepped onto the mat. He wore camo shorts and a black wife beater. Kenny’s own shorts wore black. Arctic was written on the right leg and Fox on the left.
The Russian wasted no time. He came in swinging. Kenny evaded and redirected his opponent. The process of ducking, evading, blocking, and moving went on for a few minutes as he calculated his Russian opponent. He was stronger, but also slower than Kenny. He flagged his strikes and ducked his head. He fought with intimidation and no real technique. As the Russian came in with a round house, Kenny turned sideways using his forearms to block the strike while he threw his shoulder into the guys chest. Taking the opportunity, Kenny brought his fist up into the Russian’s jaw. He turned and roundhouse kicked his ribs next as he was staggering back. Using the crowd and the change in momentum, Kenny shot in for a throw. Throwing his right arm under the Russians right arm, Kenny lifted up and rotated his body right and bent down rolling th the Russian over his back and throwing him to the ground.
Not stopping and releasing all his pent up stress, frustration, and anger he came down hard again and again with hammer fist to the Russians face leaving him bloody faced and broken jawed. He stood up and wiped the blood from his gloves. Rayne handed him his hoody and he grabbed the ten thousand dollars from the judge as he led the way out of the warehouse and out of the city of the damned. It was time for a new life for all of them.
The next morning Kenny just lay in bed thinking about the day. His bags were packed and sitting next to Rayne’s. Rayne was already in the kitchen making eggs by the smell that wafted into the room through the open door. Sitting on the night stand next to him were the train tickets for both of them.
Kenny sighed and rolled out of bed throwing on a t-shirt and some shorts. Passing into the small living room he could see Rayne setting the table for their breakfast. She smiled a weary smile and sat down. His smiled a knowing smile and sat down across from her.
They had been stuck in this city for three years. Three long, hard years. Kenny made money as he could working less than desirable jobs. Mostly he worked in security. Security for who or what, was often the undesirable part. Rayne worked as an artist on the streets painting whoever paid her.
Two people with degrees should not have to scrape to make a buck. Well neither of them did. It was all a front of course. They had money, they had real jobs, and they even had a house of their own. The true problem was they were in hiding. Well they were in hiding. A blotched operation in Afghanistan had a terrorist cell hunting down the members of Charlie Company. Kenny had been one of the medics on that Op. he had received orders to return home just days ago. He was in the clear. After the incident he was medically retired. It had taken six months to recover. Rayne would often trace her fingers down his back across the scars. Occasionally she could find pieces of shrapnel and pellets under his skin. His body was still trying to rid itself of the blast injuries that had cause him his whole team. He had spent hours working on each of them, but there had not been hope in the first place. He was just the lucky one.
“It will good to get back home after three years in this hell hole,” Rayne said gesturing with her fork that had impaled egg on it.
“It has been a while; hasn’t it? I was just starting to like this place,” Kenny said as Rayne cocked her eyebrow, “I was just kidding love.”
“Not funny at all,” Rayne said in a slow, low tone. Kenny barely suppressed a laugh. They finished their breakfast they ate with plastic on paper plates. All of the furnishing and décor was left. All they took where their luggage. The door slammed with a loud thud and both walked away from the small apartment forever. They would meet up with the rest of the group at the train station.
It was not long before the couple were at the train station with the others waiting on their train. They had all dropped everything they own to make a new life for themselves. They gave up who they were to move on. The war was over and each one had made their sacrifices. They all sought a place to rest.
“Landrunner 268 to New Aquarius departing in ten minutes from platform C3,” an elderly woman’s voice called over the loud speaker.
“That’s us,” Scott said picking up his backpack. The six made their way towards their train. They had a nice little car at the back of the train for their week long cross trip. The government took good care of them after Kenny, Scott, and Dallas brought back the Intel that had helped turn the tide on the terrorist cell behind the global war they shed their blood in.
Fresh fruit and chilled drink sat on the table by the back right window awaiting them. Dallas sat down with Alex and Paige. They had left their luggage in their sleeping car. The back two cars were reserved for them. The sleeping car was spacious with four beds and four closets. Kenny and Rayne shared one while the other three had their own beds.
The rear car had two tables one each side by windows, a dining area on the back right side and a small kitchen like area on the back left side. The front portion was open with a lounge area. Kenny had his head on Rayne’s lap as he stared at the ceiling. She ran her fingers through his hair causally. He drifted in and out of sleep. More often than not he had nightmares of the ghosts of his past, but he would never let her know it.
Kenny carried Lezlie hobbling from the office. The whole courtyard was a frenzy. Soldiers were spread out all over the place each with three or four other soldiers tending them. Broye sat in a corner having a seizure as the medics tried to get him oxygen and stabilize him. Lezlie sank to his knees with tears running down his face as Kenny rushed to attend Anderen. Britin worked on Broye. It would be the end of many of their careers as soldiers.
Kenny sat on the trunk of his car. Tears ran down his face. In his hand was the engagement ring that used to sit of her finger. Something had changed her. She was not even the same girl he had fallen in love with. He watched her drive away. He still remembered his promise. She would never see him again. He had broken that promise on her wedding day. Like always he left a wake of chaos wherever he went. He was a whirlwind.
The sound of the firefight surrounded Kenny as he pushed the needle into his patient’s chest. The familiar popping noise told him he had hit his mark. He double checked the soldier’s tourniquet on her left leg. She would survive. He slid her onto the litter. He readjusted his M4 so he could pull the litter towards the Black Hawk. As he reached the door an intense light engulfed him. He would later find out that he was the sole survivor of the blast.
Three beautiful girls splashed around in the lake just behind Kenny’s summer house. Being the flirt he was he swam up to the trio. The beautiful busty, blue eyed, Rayne was a total b***h. The petite Alex was flirty just like Paige. He never knew that Rayne would end up being the love of his life.
“Yo. You go from moaning and squirming around to a huge smile. What were you dreaming about,” Rayne asked as she shook Kenny awake.
“Let’s just say that in my darkest moments you are my shining light,” He replied sitting up and stretching his arms over his head.
“You’re a dork, but sweet none-the-less,” Rayne smiled.
“Would you rather me be a dick,” He asked in reply.
“No, but,” Rayne began.
“Hey! Get a room you two! NO! NO! NO! Not the sleeping car. Can’t you two stay out of each other’s pants for one week,” Paige yelled at them.
“Don’t be jealous. Besides I‘m sure Dallas can help you out. Scott of course is married so no luck there,” Rayne shot back at her.
“Yeah Paige,” Alex said.
“Oh don’t even start with me Ms. Lack Of Self-control,” Paige snapped.
“Hey. I have more self-control in my left b**b than you do in your whole body,” Alex replied.
“Hmm. Not much at all,” Rayne said.
“UH!” Rayne dodged the flying bagel which hit Kenny square in the face. Being the cool, calm person he was; Kenny took a bite out of it and rubbed his stomach make “mmm” sounds.
“So we get to stay cooped up on a train for a week. This could turn bad,” Dallas said looking out the window solemnly.
“I’ll be fine once I meet up with my wife in Tundleton,” Scott said with a smile.
The train was headed for the city of New Aquarius. The city of water. Just built and only accepting certain citizens into its gates. The government was sending the survivors of Charlie, Delta, and Echo companies to the city to live and work. The city was a project on public safety and crime.
Completely gated with no entry save by those with a special passport. It was an utopia for those seeking a new world free the wasted state of the world. Kenny, along with Rayne, Dallas, and Scott, and an old friend of Kenny’s were one of the elite security teams sent to protect the city which was already a target for any of the multiple terrorist cells of the world. Alex and Paige were going to find work once they settled in.
The view of buildings soon came into view. The train was pulling into West Riverton, named for the river that flowed through its center. The same river which flowed into New Aquarius and out into the ocean. The river was now patrolled by the navy and coast guard.
The train slowed its advance into the city. The platforms of the station soon came into view. The people on the platforms eager to get on the train and be about their business. Mother’s held their children’s hands, while father’s fumbled in their pockets and jackets for tickets. Business men and women talked on their headsets while analyzing whatever report they held in their hands. Various ex-soldiers waited patiently for the train. No one gave them a second look. They all dressed in civilian clothes, but Kenny knew the look in their eyes. It was the same look he had himself. He saw the ravaged survivors of the Sandviper Operation. Each and everyone betrayed by Alpha and Golf Companies. Foxtrot had no survivors to represent them on this pilgrimage.
They would be on one of the ten 260 series Landrunner. This one had the last eight cars reserved for four groups. The other trains were designed to cater to the soldiers who would form the backbone of the New Aquarius security force, Blue Wing. Kenny, Dallas, and Scott were team leaders since they had each had experience in the area of leading armed men to battle. Kenny at one time had been an officer and pilot for the US Army.
The train began to lurch forward as the last of the passengers boarded the train. It started its journey to Tundleton and then on its final leg to the gated city. Kenny got up and exited the car to get fresh air on the catwalk. He watched the scenery roll away behind them. He reviewed his orders in his head again.
He was to report to the Blue Wing commander three days after settling into his new house. He would serve as an officer and team leader of Team Foxtrot, Alpha Company. It was his option as to what he would name them. His Lieutenant would be Rayne of course. That had already been decided and put into writing. He just had to give the Team a mascot and motto to start their legacy. He figured he had the perfect mascot for the team, the Arctic Fox. He had always laughed at all the Foxtrot’s in the military whose mascot was anything but a fox. Now he had the chance to change that. The motto had taken more time. They had not done anything to make them stand out, but the commander wanted each team to have a motto. Kenny chose Hearts of Ice as the team‘s motto.
When the sun began to dip below the horizon, Kenny went back in to eat dinner with the rest of his companions. They sat waiting at the table with a waiter who was taking orders. The waiter was a kind looking young man struggling to grow out of his baby face. He could not have been more than eighteen, nineteen years old.
“And what about you sir,” the waiter asked Kenny.
“Water and a chicken salad only,” Kenny replied without picking up a menu.
“Yes, Sir. I’ll return as soon as the food is ready,” the waiter said bowing out and exiting the car. Scott leaned back in his chair and studied Kenny. Kenny could see the question in his eyes and he nodded. He was fine; just anxious to be in the city. Scott nodded in return and left the subject mute. Dallas caught the exchange and nodded. The three were brothers as far as they were concerned. They had grown up together all their lives.
Night was rapidly approaching as the moon rose higher into the sky to replace the sun. it wasn’t long before the food arrived and was consumed in a conversation less dinner. They were all tired and turned in early. This went on for three days until they finally arrived in Tundleton station. Scott was bouncing up and down on the balls of his feet staring intently at the door of the car. He was getting impatient.
The door opened and a pretty, young woman with a wide smile and curly brown hair stepped in wearing a blue jean skirt and simple red top. Scott bolted about the time she did leaving her bags in a pile on the floor. They hit somewhere in between. Kenny had to look away. They were all over each other almost like they were trying to lick, suck, and nibble each other’s faces off. Once they realized the show they were making they both got up and retreated to one of the back tables to be in piece for a few hours. Now that Haley was with them the only person left was Grant who would meet them at New Aquarius. The group was almost complete.
It was mid morning several days later when an elderly, balding gentleman entered the car. He told them that the city was just an hour away. The group thanked the man and began getting their baggage together. They were equally excited and cautious at finally arriving to the famous city.
The high white walls shone bright enough to make one shade their eyes in the morning light that reflected off them. The train passed into a tunnel that brought them to a train station between the outer and inner walls. The group stepped out of the back of the car and onto the platform where other soldiers and new citizens were filing out and into customs. Kenny flashed his badge and ID at the gate and was waved through. Each member of his little family did the same and made their way into another tunnel. As their eyes adjusted to the light none of them could believe their eyes.
Hundreds of streams, ponds, lakes, and rivers flowed all over the city. The city was more or less thousands of islands with high storied buildings and flora everywhere. Animals roamed free walking along side the citizens. People moved about on boats through the main waterways and canals.
“Eden,” Scott whispered.
“Don’t be fooled. Where there is man, sin will exist,” Kenny said.
“Sure enough. Look over there. A night club on the third story of that build just off to our left,” Alex said with a smile.
“It is truly beautiful, but it already feels tainted,” Kenny said. He was right in a sense. Though the crime rate was low, there was still a crime rate. Kenny pulled out the map and looked to find their current location.
“Alright it isn’t to far from the houses that we are staying at,” Kenny said pointing at the map, “Paige and Alex are here and Dallas is here. Scott and Haley are here, and me and Rayne are just over here.”
“I guess This is where we split for now,” Dallas said waving as he strode forward towards the bridge.
Rayne looked at Kenny and smiled. They turned left with Paige and Alex who walked with them for a ways before turning off at another bridge intersection. Two bridges and a boat ride later and Kenny found the island that contained a single two story house that would be his and Rayne’s home.
With a spacious area around it and fencing it was a modest home. The outside was painted blue and white. The front porch had four pillars holding the roof. A simple swing hung out front. Rayne examined it for a bit.
“Your quiet,” Kenny commented looking sideways at her.
“I’m in denial. Leave me here,” Rayne replied.
“Ok. Well when you come back to reality; I’ll be inside,” he joked with her as he grabbed her hand and pulled her forward. The interior was already sparsely furnished with the necessary furniture, appliances, and necessities. The entryway opened up to a living room with a dinning area and kitchen to the left. The stairs to the second floor and a den area to the right. The back had a glass door to the patio area outside.
Upstairs had a bedroom, a masterbed room, a guest bathroom, a master bathroom, and three empty rooms. One would be a library, one a studio, and another one would be a family room.
“I can work with this,” Rayne said surveying every piece of the house. Kenny left her to unpack as she saw fit and went to the terminal.
“Contact Blue Wing command,” Kenny said to the terminal.
“Contacting,” the terminal said back in a mechanized female voice. It was not long before an aging man in a blue uniform appeared on the terminal.
“Ah Captain O‘ Connor. I see you made it. The is a briefing for Alpha Company in three days. That is when you will report. Until take the time to get settled in and see the city. Get some rest too. You look tired son,” the commander said.
“It has been a long journey, commander,” Kenny replied.
“I can understand that. Three days, captain. I’ll see you then,” the commander replied.
“Understood,” Kenny said as the terminal’s connection went black. He shot an e-mail to Scott, Dallas, Alex, and Paige for them to come over for the night. He was not surprised to see the denied request from Scott. Dallas, Alex, and Paige would all be joining though as expected.
It was a few hours later and the four of them sat around the outdoor fire pit behind the house. The each had blankets around them except Rayne and Kenny who shared one. The smell of marshmallows filled the air around them. The willow trees made a beautiful backdrop with the moon gleaming of the river surrounding the island. So far they had found their paradise. It was not perfect by any means, but it was home, and they each vowed to protect and serve it anyway they could. Alex applied at the hospital and Paige with the city as city official.
The night dragged on and finally everyone went back to their houses for bed. Kenny and Rayne showered and crawled in the king sized bed. Kenny held Rayne close to his chest and ran his fingers through her hair. He kissed her forehead and whispered good night.
Three days later Kenny and Rayne woke early to get ready for work. They wore their combat uniforms. Blue jacket and pants with a white shirt. Their black boots were polished to a shine and the brass on their belts could be used as a mirror. The night before their equipment was delivered to them.
They threw on their mesh vests with various pouches attached. Each contained items that they would need in case of a riot or attack. Ammunition, fragmentation, flash, incendiary, and gas grenades among other things. They carried a side arm on one side of their belts and an a electric wave gun, an improved version of the tazer, on the other side. They slung their rifles. Rayne had a semi automatic, while Kenny carried a scoped single shot, long ranged rifle.
A boat waited on them outside to carry them to Command. The ride was only about twenty minutes. Command was situated on the central island which was by far the largest of them all. The five story stone building was for the most part unadorned, save for the giant winged stone angels that stood at the entrance.
The fifth floor was the giant briefing room. Rayne and Kenny walked in to find Dallas and Scott already there and talking to Grant who had arrived late last night. The room was filled with the members of Alpha company which was the special task force for New Aquarius.
Just as everyone got settled into the room; the commander walked in. Everyone rose to their feet. The commander motioned them to sit. They all sat down by teams. They were the smallest company with ten teams of five. Five teams together made an element; the Urban Assault Element which were the teams who fought on the ground an in the streets. The Support Element were the teams off the ground or that offered intelligence and/or ranged support.
“Thank you all for accepting the summons to serve New Aquarius. I will waste no time here. You each know your team and your mission so I will introduce you to each other. Sound off with your motto please. “Urban Assault Element sting team Alpha Angels led by Captain Jeremiah Johnson and Lieutenant Trisha Williams.”
“Assault team Bravo Bulls, Captain Jeff Darkwell and Lieutenant Jamal Hakim.”
“Counter team Charlie Cobras, Captain Casey Gordon and Lieutenant Jennifer Hasting.”
Demolitions team Delta Death Dealers, Captain Dallas Jackson and Lieutenant Bran McKinnley.”
“Tick, Tick, Boom! Game Over!”
“Recon team Echo Eagles, Captain Tom Schelesor and Lieutenant Benjamin Newman.”
“Support Element stealth team Foxtrot Arctic Foxes led by Captain Kenneth O’ Connor and Lieutenant Rayne O‘ Connor.”
“Hearts of Ice!”
“Interception team Golf Giants, Captain Tammy Welch and Lieutenant Brittney Stafford.”
“Arial team Hotel Hawks, Captain Shelby Hall and Lieutenant Otto Trinton.”
River team India Interceptors, Captain Sheila Hawks and Lieutenant John Manwell.”
“River Runners, Interceptors!”
“And lastly the Urban Patrol team Juliet Jackals, Captain Scott Delnado and Lieutenant Brian Zieks. Captain Jeremiah Johnson will lead the Urban Assault Element with Captain Jeff Darkwell as his Second. Captain Kenneth O’ Connor with lead the Support Element with Captain Tammy Welch as his Second. When Foxtrot and Hotel are in the skies; Captain Kenneth O’ Connor will head the perimeter while Captain Tammy Welch heads the city. Should both be needed in one area, the two Captains will coordinate that. This is our divisions. We will likely grow, but till then we will work with what we have. Now get settled in and patrols start in one hours. Let’s move people; Dismissed!”
Kenny and Rayne went to their team’s room on the fourth floor and stepped into the briefing room. It was obviously built to hold more people. 2nd Sgt. Grant stepped in behind them with recruits Keo and Kelsey behind them.
“I’m drowning in K’s. Change your names you too,” Rayne said observing their name tags.
“Leave them alone. They have good names,” Kenny said, “All right. Here it is. I’m your captain. All I require from you is follow your orders and keep your noses clean. We have this room, a break room, a shower room, mine and the Lieutenant’s offices, and an equipment room at our disposal. Drop your bags, do not unpack s**t, keep your side arms, and get into your flight suits. I want to be in the air in fifteen. Foxtrot will always be ahead of the game. We will never be late, and always early. Am I understood?”
“Make it happen then,” Kenny said as he went into his office to change. His flight suit was black, non-flammable, and in his opinion very impressive. The suit regulated temperature, monitored vitals, and had a breathing mask built into it should he have to drop and ditch his helmet. The helmet had maps, compass, altitudes, sensors, intel, and the like that you could cycle through and display on his visor.
He carried his helmet under his arm and he walked to the hander with Rayne. Five Ravens sat running, while five more where being fueled and prepared for the Hawks. The Ravens were one man aircraft designed for low speed, low altitude flying. The mechanics, Kenny did not know, but he knew how to fly the thing. It was small and maneuverable and had the capabilities for great speeds and higher altitudes if necessary. The Raven was designed around two things; vertical take-off and urban environments.
“Soldier, turned pissed off punk, turned soldier,” Rayne said with a cocked eyebrow as they walked.
“My vendettas aren’t dead yet, love,” Kenny said as we climbed in his Raven’s cockpit and threw on his helmet. Rayne shook her head. So many people had caused him pain and so many people had rubbed him the wrong way. It took all she had at times to keep him at bay. She put her own helmet own and locked her communications system in.
The five members of Foxtrot Team sat patiently. The Hanger Chief, Chief Brighton, gave the signal to the Hanger 1st Sergeant who opened the vertical hatch. Five Ravens fired their engines while five more from Hotel moved into formation. The signal was given for vertical takeoff.
Kenny rotated his wings and punched the throttle. He felt his stomach drop as the Raven lurched skyward and out of the hatch. He could see Alpha, Echo, and Golf’s vehicles pouring out of the motor pool and into the streets for patrol. The people needed to see that New Aquarius was the safest city on the planet.
The rest of the teams were already on foot moving towards their posts. India had taken to the rivers already. Their boat had joined the normal river patrol of two-hundred and fifty patrol officers from Foxtrot Company.
“Com check. How are the birds handling,” Chief Brighton called over the Radio.
“Report,” Kenny commanded.
“Raven seven up,” Rayne said.
“Raven eight up,” Grant called in.
“Raven nine up,” said Keo.
“Raven ten up,” replied Kelsey.
“Raven six up. Foxtrot in the air; all birds fully functional Chief,” Kenny reported.
“All right you and Hotel have the skies. Hotel will take the city and you’ll take the perimeter Captain O’ Connor as instructed in today’s briefing,” The chief called over the com link.
“Roger Chief,” Kenny replied.
“Safe flying,” the Chief said before closing the link.
“Wedge it,” Kenny called out to his team.
“Roger Captain,” replied the team members of Foxtrot Team. The Ravens rotated their wings to maintain their altitude and flew into a wedge formation much like the flying “V” of migrating ducks. The land was clear for miles around except for the train tracks and river leading to and from New Aquarius. There was no roads to or from the city. The only vehicles in the city itself were government and personal transportation vehicles. Most people went by watercraft anyways. The security vehicles were all fitted for rough terrain to take the fight to any enemy outside the walls. The sixteen hundred employed security personal could combat any threat save that of a full fledged army.
“I have a terrible confession to make,” Kelsey called over the link.
“Go ahead Kelsey,” Rayne said to her.
“I’m terrified of heights. I have no clue why or how I’m flying this thing,” came the reply.
“Weren’t you flight certified before joining,” Grant asked.
“Yes, but we never actually had to fly. We used the simulators. They were cheaper,” Kelsey answered.
“Holy S**t! Leave it to our cheap a*s government to pull something like that. Well, suck it up and bear it kiddo. Your flying,” Kenny said to her.
“Well this is going to be interesting,” Keo said to himself.
“You know the best way to combat a fear Kelsey,” Rayne asked. Kenny smiled to himself. He had done this same thing himself.
“How Lieutenant,” Kelsey asked.
“You throw yourself into it full force,” Kenny yelled, answering his wife’s question, as he jacked on the pull wheel. His raven pulled up hard before making a loop and diving towards the ground. Rayne was right behind him in the dive. They leveled out when they were two hundred feet from the surface, buzzing the ground. Grant and Keo soon joined them. They were weaving in and out of the trees and various landmarks in an intricate dance of million dollar government equipment. It soon became a game of follow the leader as they flew circles around Kelsey. They let a gap form and with an audible breath Kelsey’s Raven lunged into the formation. They took the Ravens through their paces as they rapidly changed positions and altitudes in their continued dance. With flips, barrel rolls, and dives the members of foxtrot were more or less having fun gambling with their lives more than anything else for the next three hours.
“All right team. Form it up and lets take ‘em in,” Kenny called. The team formed back up into their wedge. The flight back seemed much shorter than the flight to the outer rim of the city’s land hold.
“Foxtrot Team, Alpha Company requesting permission for docking five Ravens in the hanger,” Kenny called.
“Clear for landing Captain. Let’s get ‘em docked so they can be cleaned and serviced,” the chief replied. The five Ravens rotated their wings and were brought down far gentler than they had been on during the flight. The chief met the team as they climbed out of their cockpits. Kelsey was visibly shaken, but holding up.
“You’ll get the hang of it,” Keo laughed at her.
“How’d they handle Captain,” the chief asked.
“Flew like a dream Chief,” Kenny said as his team made their was to their locker rooms to get changed and off shift.
Night descended over the city. Kenny pulled his grey hoody over his head. He wore his favorite pair of blue jeans with his black and white sneakers. As soon as his wristbands went on, Rayne sighed. She strolled over to him and molded herself around him.
“Whatcha doin,” she said kissing his lips gently.
“Should I answer a rhetorical question or leave it alone,” Kenny answered with his own question.
With a another sigh Rayne spoke as she ran a finger down his jaw line,” Come back in one piece and I might be in one of my moods later.”
“Too bad we have no neighbors to wake,” Kenny said with a wink.
“It really is. I always enjoyed the noise complaints,” Rayne said teasingly. She kissed him and pushed her towards the door, “Hurry so you can get home sooner.”
Kenny closed the door with a smile and a laugh that quickly faded. Due to his status in the city he donned a silver mask that resembled the face of a fox and threw on his hood. He already had information on the formation of an underground forming. He did not care to spy on them or break it up. It would be policed; all he wanted was to be a part of it.
It was not long before he found the building he was looking for. Tucked away deep in the industrial district was a privately owned warehouse whose lights never went off. Kenny stepped inside into the main entrance. The two massive guards stood when he entered. They were taken aback by his mask. He flashed his wristbands and they let him pass. Even in the underground certain people were known world wide even if people had no clue who they were really.
It would not take long before the entire underground was buzzing with the news that the Fox was in New Aquarius. The familiar scent of sex, piss, and vomit greet Kenny’s nose as he entered. He immediately turned down the drunk girl who was selling ecstasy by the bag.
It was obvious where the people Kenny was looking for were. The normal ring of people, the cheering and jeering, and the smell of sweat and blood. Kenny stepped forward and strode up to the crowd. As soon as people realized who they were seeing they opened the circle to allow him access. A shirtless British man strode forward with a devilish grin on his face.
“My, my. If it isn’t the Fox himself in our new city. What brought you here? Ah as silent as ever and you brought the mask this time. Not looking for a fight are we. Well I think you’re a coward! Hiding behind that mask of yours. You might not want a fight on your hands, but you bloody well f*****g found one! Get the f**k out of my underground,” the man yelled as he swung at Kenny. There are two truths to the underground Kenny had learned. Cops do not exist, and sometimes you have to spill blood to make a point. It was because of those two truths that he had no problem pulling the knife from his hoody’s sleeve and slashing the man’s throat throwing blood over the spectators. The lifeless blood fell to the floor and bled profusely. Kenny turned and walked away from the scene. He did what he had come to do; make a statement that he would be the master of New Aquarius’s underground.
Kenny walked in his and Rayne’s room to find Rayne patiently waiting on the bed. She was calmly sitting on her knees with her hands in her lap. She wore a red bow around her neck and nothing else. She crooked two fingers at Kenny and beckoned him forward. He had no qualms in obeying the command. He pulled off his hoody and somehow managed to lose his socks and shoes before crawling onto the bed. His jeans and boxers soon followed after his shirt.
“Silly boy. You forgot something,” Rayne said as she pulled the mask off his face to unveil a grinning Kenny underneath. Before she could react he leaned forward and kissed her. It was not sweet, it was not light, and it was not gentle. It was the kissed they share right before they make most passionately love making they could possible make.
Kenny woke to find Rayne snuggled up to him with her head on his chest. He laughed when she began to make purring noises. She looked into his eyes. He could see the playfulness in hers. They had the day off and she wanted to see the city.
“Get dressed Loverboy. Your taking me out,” she said with a kiss.
“Do I have a choice,” Kenny asked rolling over.
“Not unless you never want sex again,” she replied casually.
“You press a hard bargain Rayne. I’ll be up in a second,” he replied back.
“No that is a now thing,” Rayne whispered in his ear.
“Do you want sex ever again,” Kenny whispered back.
“Then I’ll be up in a second. I have to wake up fully or some poor unfortunate soul will catch my wrath unwillingly and for no apparent, good reason. I’ll be ready by time you finish getting ready and I’ll have breakfast started,” Kenny said as he pulled the pillow over his face.
Rayne harrumphed and stormed out of the room. She was not mad, but she wanted him to think she was. The problem was he was right. He would be ready and he would have made breakfast before she finished picking and putting on her outfit for the day.
She walked into her walk-in closet and sat on the bench Kenny had just bought her. She could hear him in the shower singing cadences from the days he spent overseas in the war. She sat for several minutes looking at the collection and assortments of outfits that he had bought her over the years. He spoiled her way too much at times, but deep down she liked it. She liked it very much. He told her everyday how she was the reason he lived. He would tell her if it was not for her he would be dead.
With a sigh she stood up and picked out a black dress with red lace on the bottom. The neck line dipped down into a “V” to accentuate her cleavage. She did not want heels for today so she chose some black leather boots for the hell of it and threw on a black pearl necklace. As she looked into the mirror she sighed once more and exchange the boots for heels.
She had no doubt in her mind that Kenny himself would look like a street kid like usual. He had so often resorted back to his days as a teenager since the incident. But she was surprised when she stepped from her closet. The first thing was that she smelled no cooking. The second was Kenny standing at the window looking out at the water surrounding their little paradise.
He wore black dress shoes. He was clean shaven and combed his hair. He had a pair of black slacks and a button up shirt of black with a white undershirt. He kept his hands out of his pockets and at his sides out of habit. He turned and smiled. It was May 14th.
“Happy Anniversary my beautiful wife. You are the love of my heart and my partner both in life and in death. I want no one else by my side. You’re my best friend and lieutenant. You are my world. Come on. We have reservations for breakfast,” He smiled and held out her hand. With a look of contentment and love she took his hand. A gondola sat outside the house waiting to take them to the center of the city.
The city was full of color with lights and sounds galore. The gondola man took his time getting them around, but neither of them cared much about time at that moment. Rayne laid back against Kenny. It was like their bodies were made to go together; like they were two pieces of a puzzle that fit perfectly together to make a whole.
Everyone was out tonight enjoying the freedom and prosperity that the city offered. Kenny even expected the underground would be rather silent on this day. Children and their parents were enjoying a small festival on one island designated as a park. To their right was one of the larger islands, the entertainment district, but that was not their destination. Nestled among several larger islands was a rather small one with a small cluster of buildings built up instead of out.
The gondola docked at the island. Kenny, helped Rayne off the gondola and they walked hand in hand past the cluster of buildings to the center of the island. Hiding behind the ring of buildings was an elegant looking, one story building painted gold and white. The sign proclaimed the name of the restaurant to be “The Golden Lily.”
Not a word was said when they entered. None were needed. A host had already made the table ready. In a private room lit by candles was a small table with a white table clothes and rose petals strewn across it. Silver adorned the dinnerware and candlesticks. A bottle of wine chilled in the center of the table.
Kenny sat Rayne and poured her a glass of wine before seeing to himself. They talked idly for a brief time until the cooks brought the meal of fresh lobster, crab, salmon, and tilapia. The night was soon filled with good food and conversation. A band played in the other room, but close enough as to let the sound of the music drift into the room without drifting into the conversation.
After the meal came to a close Kenny brought out a small case wrapped with a red bow. Rayne pulled on the bow, unraveling it, and letting it fall silently to the table. She opened the box; looking inside. The smile was worth a thousands words for her husband. With careful fingers she picked up the intricate crystal wolf. Japanese tribal stylistic symbols adorned the wolf.
“I figured you need a new piece for you collection, my wolf,” Kenny said from across the table.
“It shall be my best piece yet,” she replied and then let out a small laugh, “I think we were of one mind.” She slid him a box. She had seen the wolf at a small shop. The kind of shop they often visited for the unique wares that those both loved and admired. She had bought the wolf’s counter part; stylized in the same fashion.
Kenny pulled from the box a crystal Fox. He let slip one of his rare smiles. Rayne had fallen in love with that smile. The Wolf and Fox had been a apart of a set. Kenny would not have known that since Rayne had bought the fox days before Kenny discovered the wolf. Rayne had not been back to the shop since to see the wolf gone.
“One mind; one heart. My Fox,” Rayne said as she walked around the table to kiss Kenny.
“Shall we make our way back home,” he asked her.
“The bedroom,” she let the question hang.
“Had you any other thoughts,” Kenny laughed at her playfully.
“Raven six, be advised that an unidentified aircraft is in you sector.”
“We’ll check it out,” Kenny said through the microphone in his flight helmet.
“Are we ever going to get street time. We are a stealth team. Silent kills and espionage. Not flying in circles all the time,” Kelsey said as the formation flew towards the last known grid coordinates of the UA.
“Short on pilots at this time Kelsey. We run a double show here. Get used to it,” Rayne told her.
“Yes, Ma’am.” She was still young. She was learning new things about her new life everyday. It was said she enlisted with the city as a way to escape the unbearable hell she lived in. Kenny did not know what Hell that was, but he did not that she moved to New Aquarius from Chicago’s less-than desirable slums.
Kenny heard the ping through his headset. He focused with his right eye on the on-screen data on his visor. He was one of the few pilots who was left eye dominate. The black dot representing the UA rapidly approached their location. Fast enough that Kenny’s eyes pulled from his visor and out his glass. Rocketing towards them was a blacked out “Warhawk.” He began to yell into his head set.
“Break formation! Electronic Pulse Cannon!”
Kenny pulled up hard, but he was too late. The EPC hit the underbelly of his Raven. All his operating systems shut off. His stomach lurched as the Warhawk flew past him and he began his inevitable fall from the sky. It was seconds, but it felt like forever. He laughed to himself. The only thing he could was, “Your life really does flash before your eyes.” Like an instant account for his life, and then a flash of bright light followed by complete darkness.
“OH F**K! OH F**K! OH F**K! NO! NO! NO! Raven six is down! Man down! You son of a b***h,” Rayne screamed, “Foxes! GO”
“Hearts of ICE!” four ravens converged on one target. Eight lines of blazing rounds perforating the Warhawk. It had no chance. It had no hope, but it was not meant as an attack. Rayne knew that. She knew it was a tactic to test the defenses of the city, and they scored a major hit even if they did not know it yet.
“Raven Seven, there is a bird inbound on Raven Six’s last known position. Bring back the Ravens. A crew will recover the wreckage and begin repairs. The team will be debriefed and then you will be allowed leave. Ravens Eight, Nine, and Ten will fly with Captain Hall and Hotel Team until further notice.
Rayne rushed into the emergency room. She was in a full sprint towards she knew not where when she stopped dead. She stood stunned as the words hit her.
“Listen Doc. I’m an O’Connor. We don’t die that easy. All I care about is finding out if my pilots are alive and how bad off my bird is. That’s it.”
“They are fine and she is fine. She needs maintenance, but she’ll pull through. Damnit! Kenny! I though I’d lost you out there. I was so worried. I can’t lose you now. I could go on, but f**k! No woman wants to raise a kid as a single mother!” Kenny just stared at her, speechless. Then a smile spread across his face. Rayne had made it.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Three Months Later~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
“The city is growing exponentially as our we. Five Assault Elements and Three Support Elements were just added to the force and construction on the outer city is done. We can expect a huge in flux of immigrants.
“Colonel Kenneth O’ Connor and Lieutenant Colonel Rayne O’ Connor will now make their report“, Commander Vestiago said taking his seat.
“Since the removal of the Stealth teams from the Support Elements and the creation of the Special Operations Division my teams have been hard at work discovering the origin of the rogue Warhawk as well as several other points of interest.
The markings under the black out paint suggests that is or once was a US Warhawk. We are working now on tracing its path to find out if it was terrorist bought or if our own home country is trying to eradicate the Aquarius Project. There are more detailed reports for you here, but I want to give each of you time to look over them before we make further discussion on this topic. We will convene next week to wrap up what we have learned so far.”
As Kenny walked out of the room Rayne pulled him aside, “Well The Sandviper survivor and youngest colonel ever is made CO over the new division known as Black Wings and he still keeps his secrets.”
“Its our job, but I hold nothing from you,” he replied.
“If they find out.” Rayne let the statement hang.
“I know, but I am who I am,” Kenny said.
“And who are you? Are you the man behind the mask or are you the mask? This has to stop.”
“He is out there Rayne. He is hunting me. I know the secret behind the whole operation and I intervened to save all the lives I could. We don’t have to hide anymore, but we grew up in the underground. He knows the mask. He will be seeking the Fox. Never underestimate the Hound.”
“So your plan.”
“The underground here is too quiet. Its time to make a scene. “
The cold air ruffled Kenny’s hair. He wore his mask over his face. His black T-shirt was untucked. His night desert Camos a remnant from Sandviper, with grays, dark browns, and black. His belt held the essentials; smoke, flash, and his worst fear, concussion grenades.
He shouldered his pack and crouched down to observe his playground. All military bearing gone. O’Connor was gone. Only the Fox mattered when the mask was on. He was out there somewhere hunting him. He just needed to be drawn out.
Kenny slipped off the edge. Instantly a wall of air hit him as he plummeted. He was reminded of the feeling he had when he Raven went down and he panicked, but only briefly. He swallowed his fears and sucked in the adrenaline.
On lookers began screaming and pointing at the falling man. All at once with a swift movement the man was jerked up and a chute billowed out above him as he coasted over the islands and their streets. He could hear the sirens and wondered which of his comrades would be hunting him this night. The fox was O’Connor and O’Connor was the fox and both were marked men, hunted, and wanted. Kenny smiled as he came down gently on his knee. He pulled the emergency release on the pack and began to run. Smoke clouded the ally entrance as he left a canister behind him. All that mattered now was the freedom of the run. Years of Parkour took over and he began to navigate the route home; to his pregnant wife and to being O’Connor again.
Kenny slipped into thought. He had planned and ran this route every day for a week. The end of the alley came into view. The bridge to his own little island paradise lay just across the street. He pulled up short and took off the mask. It went into his bag.
Kenny threw on a jacket and casually stepped out from the alleyways. He walked across the street ignoring the sirens that blared past behind him. He had made the first of several public scenes that would stir the hearts of the punks hiding quietly in New Aquarius.
Kenny slipped off his clothes and changed for the night. As he crawled into bed; Rayne rolled over to face him. She gave him one of her, annoyed, yet relieved looks. He semi-smiled knowingly before crawling into next to her. He put on hand on her belly and used the other to play with her hair.
“How do you do it,” she asked him quietly.
“I always said I would never get pregnant.”
“Well Rayne I mean the biological function of my…,” Kenny began.
“That is not what I meant,” Rayne interjected quickly.
“Are you unhappy,” he asked her.
“No. Just worried and scared. What if something goes wrong? What if I’m not mommy material? Who will look after our child while we are working?”
“Love. Nothing will go wrong. You will make an amazing mother, and as for our work, we will cross that bridge in the coming months,” Kenny reassured her in a soothing voice.
“Here’s the situation. A cell of terrorists have infiltrated the outer city. The have not yet made themselves known to the public, but one of our informant videoed them moving weapons into the city. We will be doing what we do best. We will hit them fast, hard, and in ways they have never been hit before. No Raven’s in the air on this one. it’s a ground game today.
Alpha company will set up a 360 degree perimeter 500 feet from the central target. I want that area locked down virgin tight. I don’t want a breeze to roll through there without it facing rounds and EWG’s first.
Civilians get shocked on site. If it is a combatant put two through heir skulls. I’m not interested in prisoners. Each one of you is an Arctic Fox deep down. You wear one on your crest, now hunt like one. Bravo Company that is especially aimed at you.
You will be air assaulted in by Hotel Company from S.E. Sergeants Kelsey and Keo will lead their teams down into the building working top to bottom. First Sergeant Grant will work up with the rest of the company.
Charlie Company will be eyes up top. Nothing leaves that building alive unless it wears the Fox. Head shots or heart shots. Make it clean, yet messy. We here to make an example. A bold statement. No one f***s with our home and lives to pass the word on. We move in twenty minutes. Get your gear on,” LTC. Kenny said.
“Hearts of Ice!”
“Better be,” Kenny mumbled under his breath.
“I don’t like that your going out there and I have to stay here in command,” Rayne said waddling after her husband. She had grown into a healthy pregnant woman with all the mood swings to go with it.
“I need you to monitor and direct from here. You have Delta to support you. Delta loves you. Their almost more yours than mine. They certainly respect you more,” Kenny told her.
“They see me more Kenny.”
“I’ll be with Charlie. I need the target practice.”
“And if they go underground?”
“Then send in Echo and Foxtrot. I have briefed them on the contingency plan. I’ll lead them in personally. The underground is a fox‘s territory.”
“I know, but its not fair you get all the fun and I get to be fat and hormonal. Regardless please be safe my Alpha.”
“I will Beta; I will, and besides being fat and hormonal are part of the woman thing.” Kenny went to kiss his wife, but she planted her fist into his stomach first. He finished his kiss with a grunt and limped from the briefing room. Regardless of being beaten he was in good spirits.
Today was a special day. The operation would be the first field run for the new Dragon Armor. A lightweight alloy employing bits of diamond and Kevlar formed the exoskeleton of the suit. Joint areas crafted to allow for maximum movement with minimal weak points especially in the inguinal and auxiliary areas.
The inside of the suit contains a self cooling system with active camouflage. Nodes on the front and back capture the images around the wearer and transport the image to the opposite side. It does not allow for invisibility, but under the right conditions you might as well be. The helmet has a direct link to the HQ command interface. Maps, objectives, targeting systems, thermals, night vision, infrared, ally identifier, and blue prints were just a few of the possible displays.
The suit comes in four different styles. The Heavy is an up-armored version, The Recon allows for maximum mobility, weight management, and speed. The Assault is the standard version. The Master is an officer version allowing for maximum usage of the command features, direct links to all files and HQ interfaces, and highly customizable.
The S.O.D. suits were all Black with the unit crest on the front left breast. The rank of the wearer was on the right breast. All the trim was done differently for the different companies. Alpha was blue. Bravo was red. Charlie was green. Delta was yellow. Echo was orange. Foxtrot was purple. All officers were white. Kenny’s was Silver.
He could not help but think that the suit made his boys look so much more badass than the other divisions. The S.O.D. was the elite regardless in the areas of assassination, espionage, and anti-terrorism.
Kenny walked down the corridor to the deployment hanger. Hotel Company would have their birds running on the LZ just outside by now. As he rounded the last corner he could hear the familiar whipping sound of rotary blades against the air. As sound he dearly missed.
Images of his military career flashed through his mind. The first patient he ever loaded onto a UH60-A Blackhawk back in 2011. His first mission as a helicopter pilot, March 2016. His last flight in Sandviper 2018. The Police helicopters rounding up misfits from the various warehouses Kenny used to frequent in the underground just months after recovery. He liked the ravens. He had flown them in Sandviper, but he loved his rotary aircrafts. Still young and in his late twenties. He had filled his life to the brim with war and helicopters. It was who he was, but he had a different calling in New Aquarius, and he was good at it. Damn good.
Roughly three hundred soldiers stood before him. He had his enemy at two to one inside the building. They had to clear and eighteen story building. Fifty teams of snipers, the most elite of the Blue Wing sharpshooters were S.O.D., would be giving cover fire at every angle imaginable. Quite frankly it was overkill. The enemy was outnumbered, outgunned, and unequipped to combat them.
The worst would be if the numbers were off or someone was tipped off, but that was the whole point behind the Echo and Foxtrot companies. This was a statement like he said. It was also another point in the plan to draw out the Hound.
“Mount up,” Kenny said, “We move now.”
Kenny moved to join Captain Roy Hernandez, a young prodigy like himself. He was one hell of a shot and one hell of a company commander. He had the loyalty and respect of all of Charlie Company. He was on the same land runner as Kenny. He was a fresh lieutenant just out of OCS when he joined the Sandviper Operation. The scar across his left check that extended to across his neck was a testament to his will to survive. It also helped that he was a fitness buff.
“Lieutenant Colonel O’Connor. The Charlie Foxes are at your command, Sir!”
“Lead your men Captain. I’m just along for the ride. Its been too long since I fired a shot out of this old Barrett.”
“A noisy beast of a gun, but hell-ah deadly, sir.”
“Statements today Roy. Ghosts tomorrow.”
“To Hell and back O’Connor. Always with a heart of ice. I never forgot your words. They carried me on and eventually to here. You said ‘You have to be smooth and flowing like water, as the battle is always changing. You need to be swift, cunning, and as invisible as the fox. But above all else you need to keep a heart of ice. Cold and hard with a depth that no man can ever understand.’ That tattoo on your right shoulder is a testament to that. Ice above fox. Together forming the most deadly vulpine God ever conceived. The arctic fox.’”
“Its how every soldier needs to live if he likes his head attached to his shoulders. Let’s go hunting old friend.”
“Yes Sir! Charlie, move out!”
The ride to the outer perimeter did not take long, nor did getting Charlie Company in place. The long part was waiting for Alpha to get in place to move. Once Alpha began their assault; Bravo would rappel down and begin their descent. The Birds would not fly in until the signal was given so as not give away their plan too soon.
Using his scope as a viewing glass in combination with his elevation; Kenny watched as civilian after civilian fell to the EWGs. They would be fine after regaining consciousness. The Blue Wing S.O.D. soldiers pulled the civilians to a safe place out of the way of stray bullet fire.
When the last of the outer buildings and the street were clear Alpha radioed in. Everything was set. Kenny settled in his firing position. He did a another quick check of his rifle. He double checked his breathing pattern. His heartbeat alone was enough to move his scope millimeters which could make his shot off from inches to feet depending on distance. When he was satisfied he stuck his pointer finger in the air and circled three times around in the air.
It was about another minute until he heard the helicopters and one more before he saw them. Armed men wearing green bandanas poured out of the building. Kenny emptied himself of everything. No thought, no emotion, and no feeling existed. He breathed out and held still. All it took was three muscles. Kenny pulled the trigger. The fifty caliber round exploded out of the barrel and into its target’s head which became shower of blood and gore.
Fire erupted from the Alpha lines. They had positioned themselves well out of sight. The first line of men fell in a bloody spray. The remaining terrorist pulled back into the building and barricaded the doors.
Kenny smiled to himself. They were creating their own cage. It would not be long now. He looked over to his immediate left. The young soldier there glanced towards him. Kenny gave him the hand signals telling him that he was going down below. The soldier nodded and passed the signal down to Captain Hernandez.
Kenny low crawled back from his position until he was certain that he would not be exposed. He moved down the fire escape of the building he was perched on. A soldier from Delta Company waited for him at the bottom. He nodded to Kenny. Kenny nodded back and exchanged his Barrett for his M-4 assault rifle. Echo and Foxtrot were in place.
Kenny had studied this mission extensively before letting it go in the final stages and get implemented even as an option. These guys would uses the maintenance access ways which had a door straight through the massive network of tunnels that right between the surface of the islands and underground lake beneath them. New Aquarius was a marvel. The river above the surface had no connections underground, but underground was the secret jewel of the city. A huge cavern with an underground lake that supplied the city with the finest water. That cavern was guarded by Echo company and Foxtrot company patrolled the tunnels. Alpha drove them into the building. Charlie supported them. Bravo will push them down forcing them into the tunnels where foxtrot waited. If Foxtrot failed Echo was more than enough to finish the rest. These terrorist were smart. They would be feeding all of what was happening to them to another unit within their cell. They would know how this group died.
A second round of gunfire started. Bravo had met the terrorists inside. Phase two was well under way. Kenny was already moving down a maintenance entrance to the tunnels when he heard it. A sergeant from Foxtrot, marked by the yellow on his armor, was there to meet him.
“All ready to intercept commander,” The sergeant said. Where Alpha and Bravo wore the assault armor and Charlie wore the recon armor; the soldiers of Foxtrot and Echo were equipped with the Heavy Armor. This Sergeant looked like a bulky beast compared to the Sleek Master version Kenny himself work.
“How the suit sergeant?”
“I’ll tell you sir; I was skeptical at first, but she holds up nice. We’re getting great feed through Delta about the mission, the other companies, and whole slew of other details. This suit even has a feature that tells me how many rounds that I’ve used. Then again it will give you wrong feedback if you don’t input the correct number of rounds in your magazines and drums though. All in all after a few tweaks, it’ll be great. I shot mine earlier with a shotgun for the hell of it. Only scratched the paint.”
He turned to show the imprints of hundreds of pellets scraping across the right side of his armor. The silver underneath shone brightly. Kenny shook his head.
“Please refrain from shooting your equipment in the future sergeant. How are the optics?”
“They are all running perfect on everyone’s so far, sir.”
“Good. When signal is given, the lights in these tunnels will be out.”
They rounded a corner into a central room where Echo and Foxtrot set up a miniature command center when conducting work in the tunnels. Captain Samantha Tsuketo of Echo and Captain Jamal Williams of Foxtrot stood over a hologram layout of the tunnel network. As Kenny approached the soldiers came to attention and saluted. Kenny held up a hand. Rayne was calling him through his headset. Her face popped up across his visor.
“Bravo reports that all signs of remaining forces have disappeared. I am alerting Foxtrot and Echo.”
“Thank you my Beta.”
“No problem my Alpha. Since your getting all the fun though. I’m cutting you off from sex for a long time.”
“A discussion for later,” Kenny laughed.
Rayne scowled at him and she blinked out from his visor. Kenny told the soldiers to carry one. An explosion of activity then ensued. The alert came through on all the visors. All the tunnels were blacked out from remote control by Delta. Kenny switched over to his NVG setting. The tunnels were illuminated in a familiar green light. He stood still as another series flash backs overtook him.
A shooting range at Fort Jackson, South Carolina, at midnight. Picking up stranded civilians from their rooftops during a flood. The power being taken out during a mass casualty incident while working on a blast victim. Dropping off a group of soldiers in the Gobi during Sandviper.
Kenny came to. Luckily he had been staring in the direction of the hologram so the captains thought him reviewing. He hit the power and the hologram cut off. It had been the last artificial light.
“Lets go to work Captains. Get your lieutenants in place.”
“They are already moving to their objectives sir.”
“Good.” Kenny led the two officers out of the chamber and into the tunnels which looked eerie bathed in the green of his night vision. Small specks of bright light marked the path of the tunnel along the floor and walls.
“On the Brightside Sir; the tests came back. The lake water that the city is pulling from is indeed devoid of any contamination. It is the purest water known to man,” Captain Tsuketo said.
“Yes. Well I highly doubt it is our water the world will want Captain. It seems to me like they would be for more interested in our technology research since that is how this city maintains its high budget.”
“Of course sir. I’m just trying to make light of the situation at hand,” She replied.
“Sam. The current situation is the only thing that should be on your mind, you should never make light of an operation, and in this case there is no need for you to try. The remaining terrorists will die. Your company and Captain Williams company our the best of the S.O.D. hands down. I appreciate your attempt to keep my mood from turning sour, but lets do business first.”
“Yes sir.” Kenny could not see her face, and he was glad he could not. He did not mean to embarrass her, but the mission came first. He had a lot to deal with as it was. He needed a break. He needed to get back to his wife.
The tunnels were dead silent. As the three rounded a corner; they saw a wall of soldiers facing away from them with their guns pointed down the tunnel. Footsteps could be heard in the distance. The terrorist were having a hard time seeing in the darkness. They would be following the light path which would lead them directly in the S.O.D.’s line of sight.
The first man came into view. Kenny held up a fist. He was waiting. He wanted this done quick, clean, and efficient. If that was done correctly, then this would be a bloodbath. Sheep to the slaughter. The last man came into view then. Kenny was satisfied that this was the whole body left alive. He brought down his fist in a sharp motion.
The resulting flare of gunfire tripped his night vision sensors off. His visor went back to detecting light as if it were daytime outside; which is almost exactly how it looked. The entire tunnel was lit up from muzzle flashes.
The few stragglers in the back darted down another tunnel. Kenny was not in the least bit worried. He turned his back and began his making his way back to command. After five or so steps more gunfire erupted marking an end to the futile fleeing of the terrorists who ran down the side tunnel. Kenny smiled.
Twenty-seven stories in the air never seemed high enough for Kenny. He lounged back against a communications tower. He wore a faded pair of jeans and black button-up shirt which was open to reveal the red T-shirt underneath. Rayne leaned back against him chewing on a piece of pocky. She wore a pair of black pants and a loose t-shirt.
Both were being a little nostalgic for their teenage years which had been harder, and yet simpler. They had both been broke and doing what they had to to get by. It was rough at times, but Kenny was just in the National Guard at the time while working and going to college. Rayne worked, went to school, and did ROTC. Both were busy in those days, but still made ample time for each other.
Now they had their own house, but also were responsible for the safety of an entire city built around the world’s most coveted and controversial technologies. Rayne had not been pregnant then. Kenny thought she was bad now, but if she had been back then; he shuddered to think of the hell that would have been like. He would have seen them through it, but it would have made life even harder.
He smiled as he looked down at her. She was asleep. He closed his eyes and welcomed the flash backs that flooded his head. Watching a movie on her parents couch in Houston while she slumbered on his chest. Being curled up next to her on the floor in the same house on a later trip after their first time together. Their first night in the same bed after being married. The night she held him after he returned from Sandviper.
Things might be stressful, but he was happy. He was content. He had his wife and soon a wee one too. He would have to pull out of the operations though. Yeah, he was still young and would have no problem completing missions, but he had to lead more than a platoon or company now. He had a whole division to run. If it was not a flight mission; Kenny swore not to go out unless absolutely necessary. He had a family to think about.
He leaned down and kissed Rayne. She mumbled something and snuggled up closer to him. He held her tight and looked out upon the city. His city. He could see the major islands with their sprawling metropolis and some of the smaller ones which were made into parks, arenas, or residences like their own. Kenny could not but help to think of Venice, Italy and its old age architecture. This was not a modern Venice. This was the Venice of the future.
© 2011 Arctic Fox
AboutI am the youngest of three. I was born in 1991. I love to read, write, and help others. Want to know more, just ask. I will answer any question no matter what it is with a 100% honest answer. more..