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Author's note

This is likely the final LANCER Project story, unless popular demand suggests otherwise. Anyway, Enjoy!


WARNING!

Contains mature content and language!


Prologue

Maputo, Mozambique

December 3, 2015


"Contacts. Twelve and Eleven."

Silver One knew that there were at least a hundred of the insurgents. After four days of heavy fighting, the revolting Mozambique militia had risen against the African government. The landscape was ravaged with smoke and fire. By the time Silver had arrived, there was nearly nothing left to save.


At the bottom of the hill hundreds of rebel soldiers swarmed behind thick metal shields. Silver One could see their eyes, anticipating their blood. A roar was heard as the horde of soldiers began marching up the hill. A second wave of troops stood behind the shields firing AK-47s and other older weaponry.


"Roll out the carpet, Silver Five."

"Copy that."

Silver Five was perched near the middle of the hill, he began pulling grenades and rolling them down the hill. Flashes were seen as the grenades did nothing to scratch the shields. Perfect, as planned.

"Silver Two, get those tubes empty. You got a few seconds."

Silver Two's slender frame leapt onto a large rock. She hefted one launcher in her hand and quickly fired, way faster than the militia's reaction.

"Flash em." One said, priming his flashbangs and throwing them down the hill. He saw his teammates doing the same. They dropped out of cover where the still dazed rebels tried to regroup, some yelling orders, most panicking.


All the LANCERs shouldered assault rifles of various models and rained armor piercing bullets on the helpless militiamen. They piled up at some places while scores more simply trampled over their fallen comrades. They still advanced and the force vanished behind explosions.

The LANCERs had buried a spiderweb of Claymores earlier that day.


Their objective was to ensure a nice good distraction while Charlie Team slipped in the fray to deliver a large napalm bomb at their main LZ. When the next large helicopter arrived and began unloading fresh troops, they'd get a fiery surprise.


Rotors were heard as a UH-1 Huey, painted in rebel colors flew over strafing the LANCERs. It veered off, turning to let one of its gunners open up. The ground erupted around One spraying dirt in his face.

"Execute Golf maneuver on my mark, Two. Silver Three, Four, Five, Six and Seven, initiate protocol Bennett."

"Roger." They replied. Two wrapped a cable around with him and backed up to the other end of the hill, a thrity story drop into sharp rocks that skewered anything that touched it. The Huey turned around, strafing again, Two flinched as she took a shot to the wrist, but the shook it off as it did not pierce the armor.


One couldn't dodge forever, the gunner's aim was getting better. At the last possible moment, One gave the mark signal and jumped off the side, twanging his cable tight. Two followed him a second later. One aimed his AT4 up, waited a split second and fired. A heartbeat later, the Huey, now an inferno hurled over the side, splashing in the ocean. They waited for anyone to come up.

No survivors surfaced.


One began the climb up when he saw another rebel, who quickly turned and shot him with a shotgun. He flew back laying in a heap.

"NO!" He heard Two yell as she pulled out her Walther P99 and pull of a single shot. The shotgunner spun around and dropped with a neat hole in his mouth. She rushed to him and checked him over, he had taken the blast in the weakest part of the armor.


Silver Four rushed up to him while Two took out her trauma kit. One took off his Lt. Colonel emblem handing it to Four, saying with the last of his strength.

"Take care of Silver team. Silver One."

Part 1: Planning

Chapter 1

Black Fang Baltimore Building

6:27 pm March 12, 2016


Joseph Pelham sat inside the room overlooking the long table, patiently waiting. After escaping prison three hours ago, he had arrived in time to conduct Black Fang's next operation. The doors swung open and three people entered, boots clipping across the metal floor.


The first was a chef who set down plates of applewood smoked ham and risotto. He nodded to the other two as he shut the door to the kitchen.

The second man was James Monroe, the founder of Black Fang and Ardent Salvation. The man had a lot of history behind him as well as countless people who wanted his head on a pike. Ardent Prayer was an extremist zealot group that involved a higher salvation before death. It required meditation, self-tourture and even difficult ordeals. The group had achieved so much success that it attracted countless celebrities and even more people after that. Pelham was a zealot in the Ardent Salvation as well as one of the head Generals in the Black Fang organization.


Next was Vane Novax. He was a trained assassin and likely one of the most dangerous people on the planet. To his credit, he had killed more people than anyone in Black Fang combined. Brilliant, ruthless and cruel, he typically worked for whomever paid him the most money. If they did, he would stalk them to the ends of the earth if necesscary. However, if his target offered him a better reward, he would turn against his client without hesitation. That mercenary style even put Pelham at unease, but he calmed himself as Novax was his second in command.


"Let's get down to things." Monroe said, after they had finished their dinner. Pelham nodded and Novax gave a signal to go ahead.


"As you may know. President Arthur Deleston took the oath today and is now in office. With his attention on Black Fang, we are prone to attack. I have a solution however."

Novax grunted with satisfaction, taking a sip from his wine glass. Monroe opened a laptop and turned it for them to see. It displayed a photo of a very attractive girl in her early twenties.


"Ariel Deleston, the President's lone daughter also resides in the White House, they say is the most secure building in the entire world. We will prove that wrong tonight. She is our target and must be captured in the most stable condition possible. When it happens, the President will do anything for his precious kid and with our cooperation we can get their support for our final phase of the Ardent Salvation."


Pelham nodded with satisfaction. He turned to Novax. "Get a team assembled and get there ASAP."

"Roger." Novax replied in a hissing tone of pleasure.

Chapter 2

The White House

8:00 pm March 12, 2016


The black car pulled into the gates of the White House. Novax and two of his best assassins got out, calmly striding towards the front. At the other end, a dozen Secret Service Agents stood firm with another four on the roof. They were dressed in white with black visors to hide their eyes.


Novax felt nervous although he was trained for this. They had practiced different voices to a lower pitch making it impossible to voice identify anyone. He motioned for his sniper on one of the roofs to hold fire until he gave the signal. One of the agents, the captain warned Novax.

"This is a restricted area. Please turn back."

Novax shrugged off the insult and threw up his hand. The signal.

Basilisk Four threaded a silencer on his WA2000 and quickly fired four rounds into the guards on the roof. They dropped without a sound before he turned to the guard farthest away and pulled the trigger, putting a round clean through his head.


The captain looked over in surprise before Basilisk Two and Three drew a pair of silenced MP5Ks and eliminated the guards before anyone could react. Novax, Basilisk One, grabbed the captain and twisted his neck upward in a fluid motion until a pop was heard. The captain's radio crackled.

"Is everything alright?"

"Demonstrators from the oath. We took care of em." Basilisk Three replied in the radio and it fell silent.

The three moved in, they had memorized all the security systems and their countermeasures. They traveled upstairs and were nearly there when three agents stopped them.

Novax opened fire, the suppressor burping a burst that caught the center guard in the neck. Basilisk Three eliminated the other two. Three dragged the bodies away and began stripping the least torn suit off the guard.


Novax and Basilisk Two stacked up at the door. Three had changed into one of the agent's uniforms to ward anyone else off. He opened the door to see Ariel Deleston sitting on her bed.


At first, she didn't even look up until instincts told her something was wrong. She turned to see Novax with the submachine gun standing a mere foot from her. Behind his mask, Novax smiled as her face turned from confusion to panic as he grabbed her. She screamed landing blows that Novax didn't even flinch from. Her panic only came out as a whimper as Novax grabbed a sedation needle and injected it into her bloodstream. She slowed and became limp in less than ten seconds. Novax was satisfied that the objective was complete, now they had to get out.

"Let's go." He told his assassins.


Chapter 3

USS Cerberus

3:00 pm March 11, 2016


"Guys, we are getting a replacement...again." Vector, now Silver One told his comrades. He pulled up their performance reports. Ignoring their responses.


Lt. Colonel Travis Kerrick Magnum

DOB: 11/16/1988 (Age 28)

POB: Vancouver, British Columbia

Silver-One: Team Leader


Lieutenant Destiny Luxey

DOB: 4/22/1995 (Age 21)

POB: Jefferson City, Missouri

Silver-Two: Second in Command, Medic


Master Sergeant Heinrich Ernst

DOB: 8/1/1990 (Age 26)

POB: Munich, Germany

Silver-Three: Designated Marksman


He found Silver Four's profile, the one the new LANCER onboard the next shuttle delivering supplies to the frigate.


Warrant Officer Marcus Xavier

DOB: 6/26/1994 (Age 22)

POB: Las Vegas, Nevada

Silver-Four: Close Combat and Grenadier


"An El Three eh?" Luxey groaned, "And only a Warrant Officer? This should be great."

"Calm down. He might not be so bad." Ernst snickered, he was nicknamed Redeye for his use of laser sight in battle. "He might even have good taste." Lux, shot him a glare, but said nothing.


Master Sergeant CODENAME RAMPAGE

DOB: XXX

POB: XXX

Silver Five: Support Gunner, Pilot


Sergeant Damian Sikex

DOB: 3/1/1985 (Age 31)

POB: Bridgeport, Connecticut

Silver Six: Heavy Weapons Specialist


Sergeant Scott Harris

DOB: XXX

POB: Tulsa, Oklahoma

Silver Seven: Sentry


Scott's nickname was Scotty, while Luxey's was Lux, Damian's was Dare as well as Vector's newest member after Silver Six was killed in a bombing earlier in the week. He had yet to see Marcus' nickname.


"Shuttle's here." Scotty told Magnum. He stretched and followed him out in the bright sunshine. The thud of rotors were heard as a BlackHawk touched down on the small helipad. Crates were hauled out leaving a figure in LANCER armor standing in the cabin. Instead of the typical LANCER green goggles, this one's were bright red. He had no doubt that this "replacement" had seen more than his share of combat.

He saw Dr. Lancer emerge from the door, he turned to greet her. She wore a simple shirt and jeans which blew in the wind and she paused to catch her straw hat before it blew off the ship.


"Good to see you ma'am." He said.

"You too Vector." She replied, playfulness tugging her voice. "I see you have met Marcus Xavier. I like to call him Wildcard from his unpredictable moves. Hopefully you can handle him." She smiled and walked off.


Vector looked around, trying to find a suitable introduction. "I'm Vector. Silver Team's leader." He finally said, a little embarrassed at the words.

"Good to be on Silver sir." Wildcard replied in a die hard tone.


"What's up?" Vector asked, obviously bored. "You want to work out?"

Wildcard nodded, "Sure. Lead the way boss."

They walked through corridors passing people who were taking a double take at Wildcard's frightening appearance. Wildcard took no notice, or at least didn't show it. Vector guessed that he was used to it. He palmed the lock and it blinked green, verifying access. The doors opened and the gym had a dozen people in it, running treadmills and bench pressing. The two of them sparred in the boxing ring, during the fight, Vector was completely overpowered by Wildcard's strength and agility. The young LANCER was far more experienced in close combat than he was.

"Good one." The two of them clanked fists.

"Too bad he didn't knock you out." A rather malicious voice boomed.

The two turned, a man with battle scars on his bare chest and left arm stood with piercing blue eyes. Wildcard could feel the man's eyes as if they stared through his goggles. He showed no intimidation, that only gave the opponent an advantage.


"So now you get someone with bloodshot eyes to come join your little gang? Give up you failure! You already lost nearly your entire squad. Face it, you are not US material."

"Likewise Lieutenant Wright." Vector replied without hesitation, a smile slowly growing on his face.

"Come here bitch!" Wright swung a blow and stopped in surprise. Vector turned to see Wildcard holding the smaller man's arm, gripping it firmly. In a flash, he grabbed his throat and pinned Wright to the wall. Even the other soldiers arrived to watch.

"Stand down Wildcard!" Vector snapped, Marcus dropped Wright who had a smirk on his face and he quickly scurried out of the room.


"Next time. He's not going to be so lucky. Who is he anyway?" Wildcard growled.

"Yeah. Trust me, I would have done that a long time ago if he wasn't so high ranking. That's Lieutenant Colonel Wright. Known as the jackass of the US, he picks on everyone, thinking he's superior to everything. When I had dinner with the President with him, Wright and his daughter. He noticed I had a friendship with her. In my opinion, he's probably jealous."


Wright was also a Lt. Colonel who always competed with Vector in just about everything. His belief was that he was just as good as anybody. Simply put, a very self centered person.


Wright ran to the bridge where Lancer and the ship's captain sat at the table.

"Wright. You better have an explanation for this!" The captain said, annoyed by his entrance.

"Sir! Two LANCERs attacked me!"

Dr. Lancer snapped her head up, "What do you mean?" Her voice serious.

"Two of them! One had red goggles or something!"

Dr. Lancer's face softened for a minute before she turned on the intercom. "Vector, Wildcard. I wish to speak with you on the bridge."

Wright smiled dangerously, but quickly put it away when Lancer spoke again.

"If that's true, then they will agree to my questions. But you should know that if my soldiers feel threatened, they have the right to submit the threat regardless of rank. So if you provoked one of them, then you are on the guilty side." She finished as the doors slid open and the two LANCERs walked in.


Chapter 4

BlackHawk Lucky Lemur

7:50 pm March 12, 2016


"How did it go?" Lux asked Vector, he had climbed aboard. His eyes were red as he pulled his mask over his face.

"Don't want to talk about it." He replied, obviously annoyed which was unusual as Lux and Vector were close friends. "Let's go pilot." The chopper lifted off and flew away from the heavy frigate.


They had been called by their eighth member, Jake Smitty to investigate a distress call that was 30 miles northeast. Since the frigate was in the middle of the Atlantic, the ship had apparently lost communications. Jake was their informant, spy and was capable of making nearly anything from gourmet food to fake IDs. Scotty even said that he could make a six course meal out of nothing but two dead rats and a heap of grass clippings. He had picked up the signal only twenty minutes ago.


"You think that this is a typical loss?" Dare asked.

"Maybe...Rampage...the legs?"

"Good sir." Rampage said in his African accent, in a recent battle, his legs were amputated and now were like clawed feet, he had customized them himself. They were capable of detatching and attaching at will as well as brutal melee weapons. His favorite feature was that he could split them open to carry utility, ammunition and a pair of Python pistols with modified rounds. They were capable of killing at chest from a long distance, even a hit on an arm or leg would sever it, yet he only kept them as a last resort.


"Approaching the vessel." The pilot called out. It showed no signs of life and drifted on its side, without an engine it simply sat there. Paradise City was written on the side of the hull as the helicopter lowered down and the team roped out.

"Alright Silver! Spread out! Dare, Scotty and Redeye, sweep the upper area while the rest of us take the starboard section!" Acknoledgement lights lit up as the team sprinted to their tasks. Vector was at point with Rampage, Lux, and Wildcard behind him. On the deck there was nothing, not even bodies.

"No bodies?" Lux asked, "They must be on the lower deck."

"Agreed. Let's move. Hand signals from here on out."


"Silver One, I'm getting lowered oxygen levels, suggest we put on our masks." Lux called out.

"Agreed. Everyone, masks on." The team complied, slipping them on without question.

They searched for another 15 minutes when Rampage signaled for him to come over. He was kneeling over a shadow that was curled in a heap. Vector approached kneeling down, he flipped on his night vision to see the corpse of three dead civilians. He made a fist and two fingers at the suites.

Wildcard proceded down the passage to investigate. He had left for a minute before returning motioning Vector who followed. In the corridor there were dozens of dead bodies, men, women and children.

The four couldn't tear their eyes from the sight.


"Messy." Rampage remarked, kneeling down to feel the man's skin. It lacked flexibility and set back like putty. His eyes were glazed white, showing no blood or any signs of sickness. Vector moved his shoulder at the body, for Lux to analyze. She took out a kit and laid out an array of tools that looked like they had nothing to do with medical reasons. She held a wrenchlike tool and grasped the goolike skin and ripped it off to reveal the exposed flesh.

Wildcard coughed, so Vector comforted him. "You need to step out...go right ahead."

"Thanks Skipper." He moved off to stand guard as Lux did her gory work. She finally finished and put her kit away, sliding vials of flesh and blood samples.

"Well I've finished analysis. I have no idea what killed them, whatever it was, it was engineered." She took out her vial filled with blood. "This should prove some ans" She was cut off by Rampage, who stopped her.

"You hear that? I think we're not alone."

Vector shook his head, "Wildcard is probably playing tricks on us."

They heard a thump and a blade extension as they saw a glow of three figures, obviously Spetsnaz. Two of them yelled something in russian before they leapt forward, knocking Wildcard down. The third figure had the armor of general with the other two as champions, the Spetsnaz counterpart to a Brigadier General, often seen guarding a general or field marshall.

One of the champions lunged for Vector and was quikly missed by Rampage pushing the LANCER out of the way, the machete slashed along the wall sending dust flying everywhere. The other champion tackled Wildcard and they fell out of the window. Lux pulled out her handgun, but was quickly subdued as the general slapped it out of her hand and punched her in the stomach, making the vials fall out. In a blur of motion, the general scooped them up and jumped out the window that Wildcard and the previous champion fell through. The remaining champion flinched and fell to reveal Rampage who crushed his back with his mechanical leg.

"Where'd Wildcard go?" Vector asked. Although they all knew the answer.

Lux smiled as she pulled out a vial filled with another blood sample that she concealed when the Spetsnaz attacked, she was smarter than she looked. They all regrouped and dropped down the window where they saw Wildcard flip the champion on the deck on all fours before he yanked his machete from the hand and slashed his head. Marcus threw the machete down in disgust. The general was nowhere to be seen. Suddenly the ship shuddered as an explosion ripped through the hull, knocking everyone to the floor.

"The ships not gonna float much longer!" Vector shouted, scrambling for the top. "Lemur, this is Silver One! The ship's sinking and we need off ASAP!"

"Copy Silver One, meet you at the bow."


"Triple time! Lux! Hold on to the vial by any means!"

Lux understood, he was being overprotective. Not because she was a woman, it was because she was the lone medic within several thousand miles, it would be on her shoulders to find a cure.


Lucky Lemur arrived on the deck and the teams climbed on watching the last of the cruise ship disappear beneath the waves.

"Still got the samples Lux?" Dare asked, curious at the vial. He poked at it as if it would jiggle before Lux put it in her utility case.

"Silver Team. This is Sergeant Jim Smith aboard Cerberus." Vector's radio crackled with static.

"Go ahead Sergeant."

"Your project founder apparently has something urgent to tell you. Priority one."

Chapter 5

USS Cerberus

9:52 pm March 12, 2016


"Sit." Dr. Lancer said, urgently. Her mood was serious, so none of them said a thing quietly taking their seats clad in full LANCER gear. Sergeant Smith stood next to her, waving off any personnel that was nosy to listen. She tapped a screen and an emblem of a cobra backed by knives and two crossed M4s came on the screen.


"Black Fang...a highly dangerous terrorist organization that has followed Ardent Salvation. It means passionate bliss and is sort of a religion. Black Fang is one of the deepest followers of this culture. It may sound satisfying, but it has inquisitions that exceed human rights, promising a heavenly paradise. This group has over the past, tried to make the world accept the beliefs. Some, like the Catholic church are curently clashing with it. Anyway, Black Fang had recently sent President Deleston a very intriguing message with a grim problem."

Sarge turned off the lights and Lancer tapped the screen. It showed a man in his late forties with armor on his body save his head, his shoulder had a emblem of a general. Vector, took an instant dislike to him.

Ernst read his thoughts. "Well...Hello Jackass."


"President Deleston. I have heard of your child's disappearance by a terrorist group. My name is Joseph Pelham at your service, Black Fang general. I'm terribly sorry what happened and I wish to offer me and my militia at your cooperation to find her. I also hope to teach you of Ardent Salvation as well with your consent. Mr. President, I look forward to better relations between you and Black Fang." The screen went blank.


"So the kid's been taken." Rampage inquired, "Another save the princess mission."

"Not exactly. Every armed forces has tried, Rangers, NAVY SEALS, even Delta Force. You're all that's left. With our forces spread thin against the Russians and the Spetsnaz, you are still a secret. You'd make a good reputation at first sight. Dismissed."

"You just proved my point." Rampage laughed. Dr. Lancer apparently didn't get it, but she laughed along as well. The rest of the team sat in their seats awaiting orders.

Sarge spoke up, "This Pelham guy suggests going to a meeting with the president at Baltimore. I'm not a hundred percent accurate, but I think he's already took up the offer."

"Very well. Either way, something's not right, asking for assistance within a couple hours of the disappearance. The first broadcast was just a couple minutes ago and he sent the message way before that."


"I have never heard of Ardent Salvation before Lancer mentioned them." Ernst said

Lux laughed, "You boys need to get more into gossip. You know Kendra Peterson?"

"The actress?"

She nodded, "She's the highest paid actress in history as well as America's next top model for two years in a row. In fact, she's a member of Ardent Salvation. In fact many other celebrities are, as well as nearly a thousand people. It is the newest thing in Hollywood."


Dare stepped out, looking anxious. "We gonna gossip? Or are we gonna guard our new president?"

Chapter 6

Downtown Baltimore

12:00 pm March 13, 2016


"Silver One to Silver Team, CHIEFTAIN is on the move." Vector whispered, in his COM. CHIEFTAIN, or the president was moving towards the Black Fang Baltimore building. Along the streets, Silver was positioned on the rooftops. Vector and Lux were at one point, Rampage and Redeye at another while Scotty was in the motorcycle behind the limo. Dare and Wildcard were the closest to the building.Both him and Lux were laying behind a sign watching for any suspicious activity, from high probablility of assassination. He hoped the president knew what he was doing, as people like Black Fang should not to be trusted by their friendliness. He was interrupted by Lux tapping on his shoulder, her goggles still pressed to the scope of the G22 sniper rifle.

"Black Fang guys, 6 of em. Top of the cafe at your 2. One has a Panzerfaust 3 RPG."

"Shit!" Vector shouted, "Scotty. Get CHIEFTAIN out of there now!"

Scotty pulled by the limo, but didn't open the door. Lux shouted something, but Vector didn't care. Scotty was probably questioning because Luxey heard him shout. "Just do it now!"

A whoosing sound was heard as Scotty threw open the door and grabbed Deleston before tackling him out the other end as the rocket struck the armored car. The warhead shredded the protective metal and the car exploded. Scotty shielded the president with his armor, feeling shrapnel ping off his armor. In an instant, the other terrorists open fire on the police below. The armor piercong rounds tore into the escort cars shredding them. Lux didn't need to be told to open fire, within a second, she had killed two of them including the rocket launcher wielder and had already tracked a third.


"Silver Five here! Ambush, pull back!"


Vector fired his ACR targeting each standing opponent with his reticule in his holographic sight. They dropped quickly and others on the roof turned and ran. Four more Panzerfaust 3 rockets vaporized the escort cars. There were shouts as the crowd panicked. Vector saw Wildcard and Dare trying to fight the tide, but the numerous civilians prevailed and they were lost in the wave. Scotty shoved the president into an alleyway and fired his silenced AUG PARA. On the rooftops nearby, two more Black Fang men tried to take Deleston. Deleston flinched before removing a hidden M9 and firing two shots into one of their chests. The president was more than ready for an assassination.

Scotty slammed his weapon into the second man's chin and he whipped his jaw up, spewing blood. He hit Scotty who doubled over to reveal the armed president who fired two more shots. There was a thud as the rounds uselessly embedded into the man's bulletproof vest. Scotty recovered, slapping his weapon out of his hands and shoving him into a dumpster. The terrorist reached out, but the sentry hit him with his AUG PARA and quickly shut both doors, taking a lock out and clicking it into the door handles.


"This is Dare. Wildcard and I are fine, just a few bruises. What in God's name just happened?"

Vector jogged with Lux, his voice raw. "Ambush by Black Fang. It's obvious they were decieving us."

Ernst got up where he lay, "We need to regroup and get to the bottom of this."

Chapter 7

Rome, Italy

1:34 pm March 15, 2016


"We're late." Ernst grumbled as they dismounted from the Sea Knight into the Italian government car. The door shut and they sped off. President Napolitano of Italy extended his hand out to them all, which they shook after some hesitation, it was not common to shake hands with a LANCER commando. Their armor enhanced strength intensely, even a small pinch could shatter bones. They had arrived in Italy for Rampage's Double Aerodynamic Grand Prix Race in a couple days.


"We ask why are you here? Doesn't your war take presidence over a little Italian visit?" Napolitano said, stroking his gray hair.

Vector took a breath before beginning, "We are investigating a kidnapping of Ariel Deleston."

"Ah...Unfortunate. I will offer Italy's armed forces to your cooperation if you wish." The car stopped and he walked toward his office, leaving the LANCERs to be led into a conference room.

"That would be helpful." Vector said, voice slightly muffled by his masks. "Also I've been a little suspicious of a terrorist cell called Black Fang. They have seemingly offered assistance, but it sounds too easy. Terrorists wouldn't just offer help."

"So then why are we here?" Ernst asked.

Lux stepped forward, holding the blood vial. "I'll be right back."

"Basically." Vector said as Lux exited the room. "Lux believes that the gas had to originate somewhere in Italy, so we are here to find who or what created the gas."


Lux entered a lab, not even bothering to put her lab coat on. Other scientists took long looks at her, from her stark lavender shaded armor, she stuck out like a sore thumb. She ignored all the glances and took out her sample. A door read "biohazard" that parted as she walked through, entering a code that another scientist gave her. The locks sealed and she poured the vial into a machine. It hummed and scanned the blood for five minutes before it came up.


NO DATA FOUND


"Origin" Lux presssed.


The computer processed through millions of words before coming to a region that was south of their current location. Not even twenty minutes drive. If Lux was going to find a cure, this lab was the fastest place to do so.

There was a knock on her door, she turned to see the lab's head scientist. He spoke little english and was only her short height. She opened the locks briefly after sealing the blood away. He walked inside, "May I?"

Lux nodded and he examined the sample and its origin. He turned to her. "Where you find?"

"Ship in the Atlantic. Killed thousands."

"Hmm. This is probably of the bioweapon dealer Nerci. Dangerous guy."

"Does he appear in public?"

The scientist took out a pad, "Yes. He goes to the Double Aerodynamic Grand Prix race every year here. Be careful."

"Okay. Thanks for your help." She exited the lab and returned to the conference room where all the boys were asleep, save for Scotty who had his AUG ready at a moment's notice.

"Wake Vector and call Smitty to catch the next flight here."


Chapter 8

Double Aerodynamic Grand Prix track

Coastline of Italy

10:45 am March 16, 2016


Travis Magnum couldn't tell where his face had ended and Smitty's makeup began, the spy had so many talents. He used to be a makeup artist for celebrities until the military and CIA called him to be a spy. A nonoffical member of the team, Smitty always gave them a hand whenever he could.

"There we go. You're all set." He said, brushing in tinting on his cheek. Vector stood up and admired himself in the mirror. He looked just like weapons dealer Azim, whom dealt with Nerci for weapons and viruses. Since they were heading to the race today, it was a good chance to investigate the plague aboard the Paradise cruise line.

"With all due respect." Dare asked, walking with Vector to the rest of the team. "Don't we have a bigger objective than finding a plague. Like rescuing a princess?"

"The FBI thinks the two incidents are linked somehow." They reached the rest of the team except for Wildcard and Lux, who were dressing for the event. Rampage and Redeye had a boat to compete with so they would enter and beat whoever Nerci sponsored. They were dressed in slick wet suits with a small LANCER skin inside to protect them from the shrapnel, should an accident arise.


The door opened and Lux stepped out in a purple shaded dress that gave her semi-tanned skin a healthy glow. She smiled and posed as the men all gave a low whistle. "Here you are." She handed him a box with three syringes inside with a clear liquid. "Wait twelve seconds and they'll be sawing logs."

Wildcard came out in his tuxedo and everyone whistled at him too. Dare and Scotty had on janitor uniforms, that would be part of the plan. Smitty handed him a bottle of makeshift vomit that was so pungent, Smitty himself vowed never to try fermented fish again, which was apparently the main staple.

"Okay." Magnum began, "Let's go over this one more time. While the race is going on, we will find out Daniel Nerci's sponsor, flagging him down and beating him in the lead. Then, Azim, his partner in crime will arrive at the casino where they will likely play poker. Lux will slip a powder in his drink that will make him have to use the restroom. Before he comes in, I will pour the "vomit" on the floor and an attendant will summon janitors. Dare and Scotty, will clean up as Azim comes in. We will subdue him and stuff him inside the janitor cart as I go back to take Azim's place. I'll take care of the rest."

"Solid plan right there." Ernst laughed. "Let's do it!"


Two hours later


"Race has commenced." Lux said in Vector's earpiece. "Rampage and Redeye are doing great, staying a full four seconds in the lead. No sign of Azim or Nerci yet."

"Understood. Keep watch and all members stay on COMs."

"Wildcard, stop trying to flirt! We have a mission to do!"

"You take the fun out of everything! All right. Sorry chief. Off task here."


A full five minutes passed by, "Okay. Nerci just showed up. He's going for a drink. Azim should be here shortly."

Vector had his face obscured in the shadows, but he saw Nerci's face staring right at him for a second, then he looked away to order a drink. The elaborate doors swung open and the familiar face of Azim stepped inside, meeting Nerci at a table.


"Lux. Make your move."

"On it."

Lux watched carefully as Azim was beginning to win. He finally won fourty thousand when she walked up whispering. "Nice." He turned and grinned at her appearance. Lux watched him play more as she bumped the table, catching Azim's drink behind her. She slipped the powder inside and set the drink back on the table and continued watching.


In about 15 minutes after Lux left the table to get a drink herself, Azim looked uneasy, but kept playing. Vector slipped into the bathroom into the stall. He coughed and made sickening sounds before opening the vomit and pouring it on the floor. It took an attendant to get janitorial service. There was no doubt that the attendant would be shocked to see janitors already on their way.

The door opened and the cart was wheeled in. Dare smiled, "Why do we always get the fun jobs?" Scotty set down a caution sign.

Lux broke in on the COM. "He's getting up. The next guy to come to the bathroom."

Sure enough the door swung open as Azim walked in. He made a face at the smell, but his urge prevailed and he nearly ran to a urinal. Vector got up and stood behind him. Azim, sensed his presence and turned, stunned to see his doppelganger behind him. Before he could react, Vector and Scotty grabbed his arms and legs. Travis injected one of the needles into his neck. Azim thrashed and lay still. Vector dragged him inside and put on Azim's suit and ring as Dare stuffed the body in the trash bag of the cart.


Vector came out, walking to the table. Nerci spoke english, the only language both he and Azim shared.

"Are you alright?"

"I'm fine." Vector looked at Nerci, who didn't even give him a second look. The disguise worked flawlessly. Vector played for another hour before he felt sick. Nerci suggested that they take a rest, so they walked out driving back to the office where Nerci worked.

"Can I talk about something in private in your office?"

"Sure." Nerci led the way and locked the door behind him when Vector entered, in a split second, Vector had his M9 out pointed at Nerci's head. "One sound and you're dead." He snarled, without his faked accent.

Nerci froze, "What do you want?"

Vector slapped on a pair of cuffs and said nothing in reply.

"From my knowledge, you are an assassin."

"I'm not Azim."

Nerci smirked, "Obviously."

Vector kept his pistol trained on the doctor's face. "Now I don't care if you are fucking around back there. I don't care whatever you two are scheming. I'm here for what you sold to a client."

"I sold a lot." Nerci smiled with pride.


Vector's grip tightened on the M9, "I want to know what you sold recently."

Nerci, looked confused. He asked who Vector was.

"I am your murderer if I don't get what I came for. Listen, just tell me what you sold within the last week and I will leave you to continue deals with Azim. Otherwise, this room will be your tomb."

"Pull that trigger and my guards will be here in seconds."

"My soul is prepared for martyrdom." Vector replied, sounding like he was on a religious quest.

"Is yours?"


Nerci stared into Vector's eyes which were ice. When the scientist still didn't move, Vector racked the slide of the pistol to further his cooperation. Finally Nerci sighed, "Okay. The contract of what I sold in the past week is in my desk." He pointed to the desk, where a locker was sitting under pictures of various actresses on the wall.

Vector knocked the picture away, keeping his distance to ensure that it was not booby trapped.

"Type the code in." Vector ushered Nerci to the safe. He punched in the numbers as best he could under the handcuffs. Travis recognized the brand of the safe, where an incorrect code would deliver a startling shock to any would be hackers. The door hissed and pinged as the lock opened. On the bottom were some papers of various drugs that Nerci had sold, nothing important. Further back was an ASP which Vector stuffed in his utility pouch.

"It should be near the back." Nerci offered, clearly eager to get the ordeal through.

Vector found the papers of the Nerci's deals sold within the last week and turned to the latter. He put the papers in his ammunition pouches underneath his tuxedo.

"When Azim returns. Tell him what happened today is unrelated to your partnership. Now please get on your knees now."

Nerci's eyes swam in fear as he dropped. "You got what you wanted."

Vector took out a second needle. "I will not kill you. This is a drug I gave Azim, you should only be out for a couple hours."

"I hate needles. Why don't you just hit me over the head and.."

Vector slammed the M9 into the back of Nerci's head so hard that a pound of extra force would've broken his neck. He jarred and hit the floor with a thud. "You call." Vector said, sliding the needle home anyway.


He exited the office picking up a taxi and went back to the racetrack where they were celebrating Rampage's victory.

"Well played." Vector smiled.

"How did your date go?" Lux asked.

Vector handed her the papers. "I made a vow that that isn' the last time I visit Nerci. Plus he might not fare so well in our next meeting."


Chapter 9

Black Fang Headquarters

6:29 pm March 16, 2016


Monroe's desk was cluttered with countless books about Ardent Salvation. His very own religion that he preached as well as his own empire. In contrast to his kingly status, he was a man of great strength at an imposing height of six foot four. His office was a secret armory with both modern ancient firearms. Within the glass storage was the WA2000 which he shouldered with pride. He used these firearms to brutally execute followers who did not pay their dues or those who wished to break away. What they did not know was that one of the rituals released a deadly virus that supposedly accelerated bliss. Therefore, he would put ships into orbit and convert the entire population to his religion, making the world one under the threat of the toxin released.


A light lit up on his desk and he tapped a button. The large doors split apart and Joseph Palham stepped inside. His general armor was polished and glowed in the light.

"Mr. Monroe. The sermon's waiting."

"I'll be out. Check on our guest in the meantime." Monroe stepped in the elevator and they descended at a floor which Pelham got out.

He strode among the cells of which held traitors to the cause. He looked at their fear filled eyes with disgust. The guards in the hallway snapped to attention as he strode past them. He stopped at their most secure cell, with a large metal door that was seven inches thick. It had several locks and opened multiple different ways. He palmed the handprint and it pulsed green, opening the locks. Novax came from the elevator and followed him inside.


Ariel Deleston sat on the floor, apparently crying from the evidence of dried tears on the stainless steel floor. There was a table, two chairs a single bed plus a sink and stall with a toilet in it.


"On your feet kid." Novax growled. She didn't move and Novax picked her up with little effort. She snapped awake as he threw her on the chair. Pelham stood over her enjoying the fear in her eyes. Novax smiled at her, but it was for blood.


"You will not see your father again. Your corpse will." Pelham said, letting the words sink in.

"Who are you?" She asked, trembling. "What have you done with me?"

"My request first." Novax said, reeling his fist back and punching her square across the jaw. She yelped, but fought the pain. "This is madness isn't it?"

She didn't respond as Novax grabbed her arm and yanked it high.

Ariel gasped, the pain was nearly unbearable, she had taken her fill of cuts and bruises in her life, but Novax was an assassin, he knew what and where to twist and the intensity.

"I'm not afraid of you!" She screamed, trying to fight the pain, only for Novax to twist farther.

"STOP!" Pelham barked. Novax complied, letting her sore arm go limp.

"Tell me." The general leered at her. "What are you afraid of?"

Chapter 10

Rome Hilton Hotel

8:56 am March 19, 2016


"Morning." Ernst yawned, something that stirred the entire team to do as well. He looked what they were doing. They were all watching the television. Although in subtitles and translators, they all knew what the reporter was saying.

"Ariel Deleston. Daughter of Arthur Deleston has been in captivity for a month with no traces of her current whereabouts. The president has dispatched Marine and Navy teams across the globe to find her in the midst of defending herself against the Russian attack two months earlier. He gave a short speech this morning about her disappearance and the group he has suspected to have abducted her."

The image of Deleston appeared in front of the White House. His older frame towered over a crowd of twenty-thousand.

"The nation's first daughter has been wrested from our grasp. Currently I have my best hope in a top secret group of soldiers that might possibly be composing our future armies. My orders to them are to bring her back alive to the letter."

"Fuck." Rampage muttered, "I liked being a unique guy."

Lux stretched, munching on a piece of toast with Italian cheese on it. "Speaking of bringing back alive. We should probably get going on that."

"Good idea." Vector agreed, when Smitty waved him over.

"I set up an account with the transportation system. Simply show them this card and you're on your way. By the way, I found a clue about your discussion with Nerci. The gas, was stolen from an abandoned lab in Baltimore. It is a powerful toxin that doesn't even come up in records, even the next deadly toxin, Nova-6 is nowhere as lethal, because if you inhaled 6, then you'd be dead. This gas kills on contact."

"What would someone want to do with this? He said something about Ardent Salvation undergoing a ritual." Vector pursed a moment. "Shit! The ritual is surviving the gas! Smitty, didn't you use to work as Kendra Peterson's makeup artist?"

Smitty nodded.

"See if you can talk to her again. She's in Ardent Salvation and might know a few things."

"She is filming in Sienna from today until the 21st. I'll try." Smitty answered a phone and hurried off.


Magnum turned to his team, the news had ended and they snapped to attention.

"I just got word that a Russian attack is imminent in Philadelphia. I'm sending Lux, Dare and Wildcard to assist the Army. Redeye will accompany Smitty and Rampage is going to snoop around with me to find some clues. Scotty, you come with me."

"You're spreading us a little thin. Aren't you boss?" Dare inquired.

"Don't you want to be a famous knight rescuing the princess?"


Sienna filming studio

12:35 pm March 19, 2016


Jake Smitty was talking with a fellow artist whom he had worked with. She was the primary artist working on Peterson. It had been a long time since he worked with them when he was pulled into the CIA. The door swung open and the luminous presence of Kendra Peterson filled the room. She was the pinnacle of beauty, elegance and style. Storming into the room, she angriliy sat down in the chair. Smitty noticed her face was fatigued and clear evidence of a drinking party last night by both sight and smell. Without her makeup, she looked like any other 22 year old girl.

"Who the hell are you and how did you get here?!" She demanded harshly of both Ernst and Smitty. Then as thoughts raced through her head, she softened. "You're Jacob Smitty? Aren't you?"

"Your little break of my annoyance." Smitty replied.

"It came eventually." Peterson's eyes and voice were filled with self-importance. "Get rid of this crap on my face. I don't go on for a couple hours, but I can't go looking like this."

Smitty began applying makeup. "I need to talk about something. Ardent Salvation."

"That subject is closed."

"You know, your lack of cooperation means lives are at stake." Heinrich shifted, toying with his M1911. "Plus." Smitty added, "In refusal to cooperate with the US Government or its soldiers can result in trouble. Your fans might be disappointed, but the US rules."

Kendra scowled, "If you want to talk about my social life, that's fine. But I'm not discussing Ardent Salvation anymore."

"You heard about the Paradise City?"

She tensed, "I saw it on a news. They say it was hit by a wave of some sort."

"They're called rogue waves."

"Yeah. So rogue waves hit it."

Smitty saw himself prevailing, so he pressed on. Ernst handed him his laptop and it only took five seconds to find the file he wanted. He set it in front of the actress and hit the play button.

The feed was from Rampage's camera at first, displaying the horrifying images of the countless corpses. She was shocked, but didn't say a word. Smitty switched to Wildcard's view displaying an elevator whose elaborate glass walls were smeared with gallons of blood. In the view, he took out his kukri knife and punched a hole. Inside were six dead bodies, three of them children.

"Is that a movie?"

Redeye laughed, "You've obviously been up in the bar longer than you should have. That footage was taken by my two fellow soldiers aboard the Paradise City. Every person, passengers and crew were killed. It's one hundred percent real."

"Who do you work for?!" She demanded, standing up, causing Smitty to drop his brush.

"That's not important." Heinrich replied, almost angry. "But that footage should tell you enough and why I came here."

"Okay." She replied, "I'll tell you what I know."

They discussed for an hour until Smitty finished her makeup. In the end, Kendra Peterson knew nothing about what Black Fang was up to. Heinrich was also satisfied what she told him. He felt bad that Kendra was someone that was restrained by her own fame. Smitty had restored her beauty and sex appeal.

"Thank you." Redeye said, he got up with Smitty and together they left the room.

Peterson looked in the mirror at the sad eyes she had seen so many time. The sadness was hers alone.


Chapter 11

Rome Hilton Hotel

5:35 pm March 19, 2016


Vector, Rampage and Scotty were just resting their eyes, he had shut at 2:00 and it felt like he just sat there for a second. He leaned over and shook Rampage awake.

"You better hope I better return to senior prom princess and me."

"Haha." Scotty was awake pulling on his jacket. "Something I don't understand is why the first daughter? Why not the president himself?"

"Maybe it's because she's a pacifist." Rampage inquired.

"That's it! Whoever took her, must have known she wasn't going to fight back!"

"When the theories are over." Vector called, sliding on his own jacket. He strode out the door as Rampage caught up to him, the longer metal legs easily covered the distance.

"C'mon I'll buy you guys dinner."

"I'd like Italian."

"Sorry." Ramage smiled, "Swedish or nothing."

Two hours later


"Hasn't that van been following us for the past 10 minutes?" Vector shot a glance over his shoulder as they walked back from the Swedish cafe that they ate at down the road. They finally reached their hotel and started for the elevator. The van stopped in the garage and three men got out, all wearing suits and sunglasses to hide their faces. They stepped into the elevator with the LANCERs. Scotty realized something was up so he reached for his handgun, before he could grasp it, the men had the three disarmed and pinned to the wall.

"Out." The apparent leader of the three said, drawing a pistol from his shirt pocket. The three complied, laying their hands up as the other two men searched the elevator. It stopped and opened on their floor. The men ushered the LANCERs out with their hands up.

"Now." The leader slowly said, "Take your left hand and retrieve your key."

It was awkward for Vector, since he was right handed. He tried his best and grabbed the key out of his right pocket. "Unlock your door." The leader said. When Vector didn't comply, his henchman cocked an MP5K at him. Travis pulled back the slide and the guard entered, sweeping with an MP5K and a Holographic sight. "Clear."

"Got a plan?" Scotty whispered.

"Nope."

Rampage had said nothing, as they entered the room. He lifted his foot, pretenting to trip. The guard snarled at him, at the same time the table he sweeped caused a vase to fall to the floor. Before anyone could even find out what was going on, Rampage was already pivoting out the door grabbing the closest weapon, Vector's ACR. One of the guards turned one second later to find Rampage gone. He threw himself at the window crashing out onto a parrallel building and gripping on the rail. One of the guards approached and opened fire. Rampage felt stone splinter across his body, but didn't stop. He jumped onto the outstretched arches, swinging like a monkey to grab another one seven feet ahead. The ACR slipped, plummeting to the alley below, but the LANCER didn't care. He leapt from the arch to the next, noticing a crowd gathering to watch. It was an awesome display, of motion, control and complete lack of fear.


He finally descended, dodging bullets while jumping down. He landed on a canopy, bouncing off and landing perfectly in front of a stand. The crowd cheered and Rampage took a bow.

He wasn't out of the woods yet as the top gunman opened fire with a suppressed gun, pelting Rampage with stones. Rolling out of the way, he managed to dodge one of the men they sent to capture him.

"Hands up." The man with the sunglasses ordered. Rampage jumped as much as his mechanical legs could provide. He ascended ten feet, dodging a spray of bullets and then jumped down, on top of the man's back. He grunted, trying to free himself. The LANCER jumped on the neck area and pressed with his mechanical foot until he heard a popping sound.


Hopefully his could contact Ernst. The radio clicked and he was on.

"What's going on?"

"Couple of mercenaries or something took Vector and Scotty. I think Black Fang is behind this."

There was a pause and he replied. "I'm done in Sienna. I'm coming to pick you up. Inform Lux that this has happened."

"Got it." Rampage severed the link. He got up to get a beer from the local bar before Ernst and Smitty pulled up in a red car. Rampage downed the last of the drink, threw a few euros at the bartender and got inside.

"How's Lux holding up?" Smitty asked.

"She's with Wildcard and Dare intercepting an imminent Russian attack in the US."


Philadelphia


"The Russian's headquarters front is in the southern tower at the end of the city. They're planning to set up one of their massive spires to function as a high ground gun battery. Simply be a distraction and I'll slip this Tower Demolition Bomb up the elevator to the top and the spire will cease to exist." Lux finished at the briefing table. "Any questions?" Wildcard and Dare stood silently behind her.

No one said anything.

"Good." Lux smiled, "We got a plan. Let's make it happen." The Marines filed out the door, shouting "Oorah!"


Ten minutes later, there were missiles exploding everywhere as the two sides came to the font lines where the streets of Philadelphia were littered with fallen soldiers, both American and Russian. Lux carried the TDB in her hand as she ran closer to the spire. She fired her P99 at a pair of Spetsnaz Ultra Colonels who shouldered FALs and machetes, firing in return. One of them grabbed a Marine and impaled him with the swordlike weapon.


"Dare! Keep them off of me!" She yelled over an explosion of a grenade.

"I got you!" Dare said, a hundred yards behind her, giving Marines support fire from his seemingly endless magazine M249.

Over the explosions Lux saw Wildcard waving her over in the smoke. She ran that way, but three grenades detonated and he disappeared in the smoke. She couldn't stop for him. Lux ran through a building pumping adrenaline, hearing the sounds of jets in the air. Before she could react, a Su-27 Flanker strafed her area, launching a missile nearby. She flew through the air, landing in pain. The bomb was about to detonate. There was moments of silence as she thought that she was dead. That thought left as she heard someone rush to her side.

"Lux! You still breathing?!" Wildcard was worried and Lux saw blood smearing across his armor. He bent down and picked her up as easily as if he had just picked up a giant stuffed animal. As he carried her back, he felt a bullet punch through his back joint and the pain slashed through like a razor. He grunted in pain, but he kept going. Marcus would never leave a teammate behind.


They finally reached the Marine's HQ where Wildcard rushed her to the hospital. Despite the medics telling him to leave, he refused to abandon his teammate. Dare arrived a few minutes later without his mask. His craggy look was filled with worry.

"Hope she's going to be okay." Wildcard said.


"I'm going back out to fight. Don't be late Wildcard." Dare said, glancing at Lux's limp form and striding out the door. Wildcard sighed and took off his mask sitting in the nearby chair, Lux's eyes fluttered open and she saw his face for the first time.

Marcus had a...masculine look to him. His jet black hair was neatly in place, despite the recent battle. His dark eyes were rather piercing, they were hard to stare into, even without his red goggles. Yet Lux saw a gleam in his black colored eyes that most people with his personality never had, compassion.

"Marcus?"

"Yeah?" He looked up from what he was doing, sharpening his knives.

"You going to be okay?"

Wildcard sheathed his knives, "It should be me asking you that question."

"Have you ever had the what if, scenarios?"

"What are you talking about." Something flickered in the black eyes.

Lux's eyes flickered also, "What if we were never LANCERs?"

"Then we wouldn't have met." He thought for a moment and replied, "What if we happened to be a couple?"

Destiny laughed, "I remember you mumbling my name in your sleep once in the week I've known you."

"Did you get your medical reports back?" He asked, changing the subject. Obviously he was embarrassed at what she just told him.

She looked down sadly, Wildcard got up placing his fingers on her chin. "I...I can't go back to duty."

Wildcard froze for a second, "What do you mean?"

"I mean, my injuries are intense enough to stop me from being deployed again. The only military thing I can do is behind a desk."

There was a crackle on Marcus' radio as Dare spoke. "Wildcard, enemies are bunching up. Could use some help here."

"I guess this is goodbye." Lux whispered, "Both of us have our own battles to fight."

He shrugged, "Eh. We'll see each other again." He leaned closer and Lux wrapped her arms around him, squeezing him as if he would vanish into thin air. Then as if it read her thoughts, he slipped out of her grasp and quietly slipped on his mask. The cold, die-hard personality took over and he left without another word.

Chapter 12

Unknown location

Unknown Time


Vector woke up in an ocean of agony. His limbs were impossible to move, thanks to restraints made of solid steel. He was alone in a chair, a camera was hanging from the ceiling monitoring.

"You're awake." A voice Vector knew too well said from the darkness.

Vane Novax stepped in the light, eyeing the captive like a cornered rat. "I was just waiting for you to come awake. Tell me, why did you investigate Nerci's dealings?"

"You answer my question first." Vector snapped, struggling in the chair. "Why did you take me and how did you know where I stayed?"

"We have our ways." Novax replied, smirking. "Now I have some things to take care of."

As if he turned to leave the room, he strided forward launching a devastating punch at his throat. He hadn't used even half his strength and Travis felt as if his throat was pulverized. Travis flinched coughing. He felt something rise in his throat and he coughed it out in a long stream of fluid.

"Ah. Here we are." Novax picked it up, it was Vector's transponder. All LANCERs were required to swallow a transponder to show their current locations. It appeared as tags above them in the HUD. However, its use was limited and it lasted only a day if the user was outside their armor.

Novax held it to Vector's face so he could stare at it, google-eyed. Then he threw it back down on the floor, smashing it with his pistol until it was a small mess of destroyed panels and circuits.

"I'm a slow healer you know?"

Novax leaned in, his face inches from Vector's "I've cut more people than a surgeon and you think I don't know the difference?" Before he had a chance to do anything else, Vector slammed his forehead into Novax's nose. He jarred and stumbled back, blood welling from his nose that made it look like war paint. The fire in his lifeless eyes burned brighter than ever and Vector knew he was about to get the worst beating in his life.


The blows came in a flurry and he had no idea to predict where and when it would strike. After an eternity, his body went numb and he slipped away.


Novax looked over at a guard, cooling his rage.

"If he wakes up, bring the first daughter in here. Let's see how long he can last while it's her turn."


'Part 2': Paradise Coast

Chapter 13

Unknown Location

Unknown Time


Vector finally woke up again, he was still bleeding and stripped of his suit. At least he could move his limbs, but it felt like bricks were stacked inside. Novax made his body vomit, evidenced by the dried fluid nearby.

He peered over at the other figure sitting on the other side of the room. It was slender, obviously female. Her long brown hair hung down and she turned to him wearing the same eyes Vector remembered when he was with the President.

Ariel Deleston.


"Travis?" She whispered, "That you?"

He remembered when he babysat her when her parents were working late night or at a party. Indeed, he was a very good friend of hers, possibly a love interest, Vector brushed the last thought aside.

"It's so good to see you again." He stood over her, watching as she looked anxiously for something to do. Finally she rose and wrapped her arms around him, holding him tightly. She shook and clung to him as if he would slowly vanish into the shadows. He immediately thought of Scotty, but he was probably going through the ordeal he endured.

They discussed things on planning to escape, but it was cut short when Novax walked in with an armed guard. Ariel handed him something that she said would help, but he couldn't tell what it was from the guard's presence.

"Let's go." He snarled at Vector.

Vector complied, but not before he turned and winked at the first daughter. She was down in morale, but his gesture brought hope to her sad eyes.


The guard brought him to his own cell and shut the door. Vector immediately looked gloomy, but searched in his pockets for the thing she had given him. He pulled out a combat knife. Running his fingers on the blade, it wasn't the sharpest thing and it was rusted, but in his hands, it was still lethal. He smiled to himself, Wildcard would be disgusted.

She must've gave it to him for something, looking up he found why. There was a rusted vent from years of corrosive exhaust. So this is a venting chamber for suffocating victims. Climbing on a ledge of stone, he grabbed the vent and pulled, popping it free with a metallic snap.


Along the sides of the pipe, there were grooves where his fingers fit perfectly. He crawled until it turned horizontal, he came this far and wasn't going to leave Ariel behind in this. His primary priority was to escape. She would have to wait.


Crawling from the pipe, he rushed to the end to find another vent. Taking out his combat knife, he swung it at the rusted panel. It groaned from the stress, but remained in place. Not giving up, he swung the knife five more times before it fell down halfway. He grabbed the sides and pushed, straining every muscle in his body, finally the metal gave and the force pushed him down onto a path, right into two surprised patrolmen. Obviously angered, one pulled out an M16 rifle and pointed it at Vector.

"What do you think you're doing?!"

"Hi. I was just inspecting your vents. All clear!"

Chapter 14

Author's note: This might be a little confusing at first. This is a flashback chapter that takes place four hours prior to 13.


Sicilian Air Force Base

1:32 pm March 23, 2016


"Silver Team. This is your newest member. Alexei Girasev, from the Russian Army."

Girasev stepped into the sunlight of the warmer tropical day. His serious face meant work to be done.

"Your reputation precedes you." Dare smiled. The remaining four members of Silver Team, Rampage, Wildcard, Dare and Redeye were stationed at the base with Smitty.

"Pleasure working with you." Alexei replied, saluting.

"I see. In the news, it said that you had arrested Pharaoh and Anatoly?" Rampage inquired, obviously knowing that Alexei had seen his fair share of combat on both the NATO and Russian flag.

"That was me."

Rampage nodded, "Awesome, let's get you outfitted." Girasev could only gawk and reply, "Say what?"

"You want to try on our spare LANCER suit?"

Alexei nodded, allowing Dare to lead him to a chamber where technicians placed the armor components. "Now take a step forward." Alexei did as he was told and followed through the tests. When the armor was taken off he spoke again.

"I enjoy the enhanced capabilities of the suit, but sometimes it exceeds my control."

"Correct." Redeye replied, "We were given stimulants to help lessen the effects of that happening. If you want a suit, it may be a while for the side effects of the stimulants to wear off and you may not fight for a while. Some of us like Wildcard recovered in less than a week while our previous commander, Silver One took the longest to recover, three months."

"I think I would prefer simply my own ballistic armor."

"Lunch is served!" Smitty yelled in the room, carrying platters of baked swordfish and cannoli. He set the platters down for each LANCER and they dug in.

"Finally." Dare said through a mouthful of swordfish. "I was getting tired of spaghetti."

20 minutes later


"Wildcard, I have a document you might want to see." Smitty said as he pulled Marcus aside after Rampage and Girasev cleared the table.

"Name it."

Smitty led him to his laptop and inserted in the chip.

"The scientists Lux worked with on the virus came up with nothing on the databases. There is no virus in existence as far as we know that is this lethal. Even a small millisecond exposure can get you infected. What we don't understand is how it did not spread through the ocean."

"If it did, we would have a major catastrophe on our hands."

Smitty nodded, "It appears to be in the water is how it is introduced. I'm still confused on how it does this for Ardent Salvation."

"It's a cult, rather than a religion. These people are trying to convert people to its insane beliefs, insisting that they will control the world's population."

"Anyway." Smitty continued as if it was more important, "When the Paradise City departed from Pelermo harbor in Sicily, the virus was already in a cell waiting to go off at the press of a button. Satellites indicated a small speedboat following the ship as well as the Spetsnaz dropboat that you encountered. Obviously whoever was aboard the speedboat set off the bomb containing the virus. I also checked the water systems that the ship's scanners sent in before it voyaged, it came up with nothing. The speedboat's number belongs to a man named James Monroe, he lives in West Palermo."

"Then let's take a look."


20 minutes later


Smitty pulled the silver shaded ferrari up to the large driveway. A gate stood in front with an armed guard patrolling the front. As the car pulled up, he held the French made FAMAS at the ready, but not pointed.

"State your buissiness." He demanded in an impatient tone.

"Need to see James Monroe. Old friend from high school."

The guard's face relaxed, indicating this wasn't another protest that the residence had gotten in the last few weeks. "Not sure if he's home, but you can go right in." He faded his aggrivated tone. Jake smiled back, pulling the car in the driveway and getting out with Wildcard, Girasev and Ernst.

"Can't believe that worked." Alexei said under his breath. "I got my good looks from my mother." Smitty replied, hiding no shame.


As they walked across the lawn, Ernst took out a heartbeat sensor on his PSG1. Blips lined the rooms of the mansion. In the corner of the wall, there was a small hangar with a helicopter. No doubt a luxury yacht.

Ernst knocked on the door, it took a few seconds for someone to answer, but a man with general armor opened, staring at the LANCERs curiously, looking awkward in civilian clothes and Redeye with his sniper rifle.

"May I help you?"

"Yes. I'm here to see James Monroe." Jake replied, "Old high school friend." He gave him the same look he gave the guard.

It prevailed. The man stepped back, beckoning them to come in. "My name's Joseph Pelham. I'm the conductor of Black Fang and Ardent Salvation. James Monroe is not here currently. Looks to me as if you're here with a few questions."


Pelham retrieved some liquor, pouring shots for everyone. After speaking for nearly thirty minutes, Wildcard stood.

"Well Mr. Pelham. I feel a little dizzy. I might go for some air." He left the room, leaving his glass still slightly filled with the clear liquid. In reality, he had searched for clues to anything on the attack. In the kitchen there were plants with wicked looking dark green leaves. He grabbed a handful, trying to make it least evident as possible. When he found nothing else after searching the mansion, he returned, insisting they should go.

"I agree. That was enough alcohol for one day." Pelham smiled, escorting them out the door. "Thanks for your time." Girasev nodded in approval. They got back in the ferrari and drove back to the base where an HH-60 Pave Hawk was docked on the helipad.

"I found these leaves in the kitchen, as well as a lot of rich shit. Also I found a paper with the numbers 38, 07, 13, 22." Wildcard looked up in confusion. "I have no idea what the hell they mean."

"Let's find out how this goes together." Girasev looked at his teammates for approval.


Monroe's Mansion West of Palermo


Back at Monroe's mansion, Pelham watched them leave, checking with the guard to ensure they had left. After a while, a truck pulled up, asking for the blue barrels. Joesph pointed to them, where the men loaded them on the back. The barrels were filled with the virus they used to convert the people to Ardent Salvation.

"These for the Paradise Coast?" Pelham nodded, when the man asked the question. "Load them quietly." He added before the truck drove off.


Grabbing the glass that wasn't full, the man who went out for "air", he began to empty it, and noticed something peculiar. He tilted his head back, letting a drop fall on his tongue.

Water.

He cursed to himself, he had no idea the men were as dangerous as they looked. If they knew anything about Monroe's next move, then the whole ritual could be compromised. He reached for his cell phone and dialed Monroe's number. Monroe would not be happy if he found out. He'd probably skin him alive. Joseph Pelham shuddered at the thought as the phone rang.


Chapter 15

Palermo Harbor

3:40 pm March 23, 2016


The Pave Hawk cruised over the harbor where cruise ships, yachts and fishing vessels of all sizes were floating, leaving or bringing in cargo or personnel. In the back, Silver along with Alexei sat in the back readying their weapons.

"Those numbers seem familiar." Girasev pointed out.

Smitty observed them closer, while reading a document from his email. "That looks like the coordinates of Palermo Harbor. Got to be something from here."

Smitty turned back to his letter. He continued reading it, indicating the sister ship of Paradise City, Paradise Coast was in dock. The elaborate ship sat moored in the harbor, already taking passengers.

Everyone was about to go when the pilot came on the intercom. "I'm getting low on fuel. I'll try to bring us to the East to avoid attention."

"Solid Copy." Ernst replied, he was cut off when he saw a large building with armed guards. His gaze drifted to a pipe where a figure fell out and was confronted by two armed men. In a flash he pulled out his rifle scoping in.

"It's Travis!"

Everyone looked out the side, he was being helped up by the guards in a rather brutal way.


Vector had only tried to escape when he was assaulted by the guards. The one with the M16 had a really funny british accent, he tried not to laugh as they pushed him along. The other guard with the shotgun looked at the passing helicopter. Finally he collapsed, "My leg's cramped."

The accented guard fired a burst not three inches from his head. "There. Not so cramped anymore huh?"

Vector complied, standing up, but not taking his eyes off the helicopter. The guards threw him into a truck and sped towards his prison. Suddenly a thud boomed on the roof and a familiar M249 pierced the air as the top was poked with bullet holes. The man riding shotgun had a curse halfway out of his mouth before he was reduced to hamburger.

The sunroof opened and Dare spotted his leader riding in the back. The accented guard fired his M16, knocking Dare off balance and he hung on the side, nearly tipping over the car. He popped out of the car only to duck again as Wildcard jumped from the helicopter to land on top.

Dare jumped upwards as Girasev caught his hand and pulled him aboard. Wildcard hung on as the driver swung trying to shake him off. Finally he left the driver's view.

"He gave up." The man to his left breathed.

Vector laughed in response, "Wildcard never gives up." He got a punch from the accented guard in response. Vector smiled behind his mouth, they would find out soon enough. Like he said, shots from an AUG A5 pierced the back window, catching the driver completely off surprise. He swerved again, this time too much and the truck slowed, teetering on the edge of the harbor. Wildcard sliced Vector's seatbelt and pulled him out. Once he did, the helicopter landed Ernst covering them to get aboard. He pulled a Semtex grenade and stuck it on the car's engine. It exploded, hurling the accented guard into the air. He grabbed his M16 and fired three rounds. Ernst just stood there as the bullets bounced off, not even scratching the armor.

"Too easy! Give me a challenge buddy!" He pulled out a knife and threw it. Sailing through the air, it impacted the guard before he could even fire again in response to his challenge. Still alive, he slowly collapsed until the light left his eyes.

"Thanks for the rescue." Vector panted as Wildcard helped him in the seat. "Have you found Scotty? Who's the russian by the way?"

"That's Alexei Girasev, our new member." Marcus replied, opening a trauma kit and applying wet dressings to Vector's chest where he noticed a 9mm had penetrated. "And we were just patrolling around when we saw your escape. If the pilot didn't come this way, we might have never found you."

"One thing. Ariel Deleston and Scotty are captive onboard the facility and Monroe is going aboard that cruise ship. I think they're planning to release another virus there."

Chapter 16

Paradise Coast

March 28, 2016


"Now I realize why Black Fang decided to release a virus on a ship." Girasev murmured.

"Say what?" Rampage replied, obviously confused. The luxury liner sat moored in the harbor of Palermo. Although it looked tranquil on the outside, somewhere in the inside there was a hidden threat that already may have struck. The LANCERs boarded with Vector on point, despite being given a basic set of armor that was originally for Girasev. Girasev still had a hazmat suit on, in case the virus went ballistic.

"Well." Alexei began, "For one, in a ship, you're crowded like rats with nearly nowhere to go. It would only be a matter of time before everyone got infected. Since the medical staff will have scant supplies for treatment, there is little hope for a cure. As opposed in a city," He paused taking a breath. "You can have hospitals ready to conquer any disease and quarantine the infected easily and fast."


Instead of taking the passenger way in, they strolled to the cargo port and hid in between the boxes. One crewman heard and investigated when Rampage dropped, landing on his prosthetic legs. He walked in and Girasev held him while Ernst slid a needle into the man's arm. They didn't wish to harm civilians, but anyone could pose a threat to their operation and their chance to grab Black Fang's leaders would be lost.


Vector removed his mask, changing into a suit along with Ernst. "I'm going to find the terrorists. You search the crates for the virus. Let me know if it goes off."

"Oh you'll know." Rampage grinned behind his visor.

Vector and Redeye in their suits slipped off and the rest continued their search.


Redeye split from Vector as the cruise ship pulled away and was at least 50 miles from the nearest city. Ernst heard a helicopter outside and saw three men get out. One of them had a face that matched Vector's description as his torturer. The other two men had gas masks on and carried assault rifles. Civilians panicked and ran as they approached. Novax smiled behind his concealed face, he loved the look on their faces. If they fired, the fear would turn into terror.


Scotty woke up after being gagged with a rag, he looked around, obviously disarmed and disarmored. Monroe turned to him.

"Wake up. Any last words?" He laughed maliciously pulling out a revolver.

"Yeah." Scotty replied, darkly. "Your monologue sucked ass."

James pulled the trigger and Scotty dropped to the floor, a neat hole in his forehead. He never gave a second thought as he strolled out to the dining area. Ariel was sitting next to him, under the watchful eye of Novax's guards. The mercenary did good work on picking his operatives. There were more guarding the room with weapons as well, but most people were too busy enjoying their dinner.


Vector had crept above the room, staring at the captive from a balcony. "Sarge, you there?"

"I sure am." Jim Smith replied, "Captive is at the head table. He's about to make an announcement. I'll try and get one of the men's attention so the kid and the son of a bitch is all yours. My men are also around the ship, they're herding passengers in their cabins."

Vector acknoledged, sitting back to watch Sarge cook up a master plan. In five minutes, he had a bottle of champagne in his hands, shaking it wildly until it finally popped, sending the cork flying at one of Novax's men's feet. It hit him and he recoiled, pulling out his pistol starting for the soldier. Jim was shaken and stood up, denying that he had anything. Once the guard dropped his weapon, Jim swung his fist at his jaw. There was a sickening sound as the bone snapped under the sheer force of the blow. In a flash he had his Mk. 23 out and had already shot the other gunman.

Novax's men as well as the mercenary drew IMI Galils and opened fire. Civilians screamed running for the doors, Smith and his men were trying to aim past them, but too much movement confused their HUDs. Novax and his troops had that luxury as they dispassionately mowed people down with bullets.


Monroe stood while Ariel watched the scene in total shock. Vector made a beeline from the balcony, dropping in front of Monroe with his ACR ready to bear. Monroe reacted faster than Travis expected, in the instant he drew his weapon, Monroe grabbed Ariel, holding her in front of him as he brandished his revolver.

"It's over." Vector growled through clenched teeth.

"It's over for her if you move. Another step and she dies."

"Do it." Vector shot back, "You will follow her a second later!"

"I realize that I am a dead man already. So it won't matter to me. But I wouldn't dare to see the pained look on your face when she lies asleep, never to wake up. You have five seconds to leave this room."

"Shoot him!" Ariel cried out.

"I can't..." Vector lowered his rifle, watching with frustration as Monroe backed toward the door with Ariel, the revolver and a small pad with a red button on it. Ariel's dismayed face crushed his heart. "Oh yes. One more thing. I hotwired the bottom of the hull with charges. I press this button and we all die."

With an evil smile, James Monroe backed out of the door.


Novax had lost track of Monroe and the assassins. He retreated until he was at the back of the ship. Typing furiously on his cell phone, he linked contact with Pelham.

"Novax here. Monroe has the girl and we are under attack."

"Rodger." Pelham's calm voice filled the speaker. "Spetsnaz are on their way."

Chapter 17

Paradise Coast

"I'll take care of this Travis!" Wildcard armed his assault rifle, running off with Girasev behind. "Go find your girlfriend!"

"Got it." Vector paused, blushing for a second. "No! She's not my girlfriend!"

Wildcard and Girasev were already gone.


They had barely any time to shout a warning to the Marines when the windows smashed revealing Spetsnaz of various ranks. Firefighting ensured as the two sides exchanged fire. Girasev and Wildcard earning half the party's kills. Suddenly the officer ordered a retreat and they ran behind a corridor.

"Yeah!" Exclaimed one Marine. "They couldn't take it!"

Girasev's expression was far from victory. "They are going to flank us then draw us into ambush. Stay sharp." His words were in vain as the youngest Marine charged at the fleeing warriors. There was a burst of gunfire as the Marine hit the floor. "Crap!" Smith covered fire while his other sergeant dragged the injured Marine back into cover. "Stay with me kid!"


"Guard the Marine." Wildcard told Girasev, more of an order while a suggestion. He turned, sprinting down the hallway. Girasev took the AK-103 laying on the ground and proceded to lay waste to the entire Spetsnaz boarding party.



Novax entered the bridge, dispassionately shooting the command crew on sight. Making sure his two henchmen were safely inside he shut the door and ordered the ship to be holding position.

"Sir. What's the deal?"

"The Coast's direction is towards Monaco. Trust me, we'll be arrested as soon as we step foot onboard. We need to hold out as long as possible."


On the other side of the reinforced door, Rampage stacked up with a Marine. The explosion tore through the door as the LANCER stepped over the corpse of one of his men. Nova brought his pistol around, aiming it at Rampage.

"How nice of you to enter."

"You know." Rampage smiled, "I like to make people know that I show up."

Novax snorted unimpressed. His finger began to tighten on the trigger.


Across the bridge, Ernst sat on the railing, watching the two bicker about, through the scope of his PSG1.

"Send me a postcard." He murmured before centering the crosshairs on Novax's head and squeezing the trigger. The bullet flew through the air impacting Novax through the back of the head. A thick sound resonated through the air that tossed Novax's corpse five feet in front.

The second henchman didn't have time to draw his Galil before a second bullet ripped through his chest, instantly killing him.

"Bridge secure." Rampage reported over the COM.


Monroe carried the detonator in one hand, wrapping an arm over Ariel's neck. Vector had not faltered, following and aiming at Monroe's head every chance he got, but he would always shove her in front to protect himself.

"Listen." Ariel said in a sincere voice. "Since you fist met me in DC, I never forgot how you played with me when I was bored and when we loved each other."

"Please..." James groaned, Ariel took the oppurtunity to elbow him and wrest free of his grasp. She took his pistol and aimed it at him. "Intresting." He sneered, "Even if I die, I still win. The second I'm away, I'll pull this button and blow the ship to pieces!"

"Not on my watch!" Ariel screamed, tightening her grip on the pistol.

"Yes. Your peace loving ways will halt if you shoot me! You. Commander. Will be looked as a hero on this ship by everyone, except her." He stood, beaming with pride and menace. "So...who strikes first and becomes a cold blooded killer."


Neither of them tensed then suddenly a hand pulled Monroe down, dropping the detonator on the floor. Monroe was bent backwards as a huge knife stabbed him in the stomach. Monroe had a frozen look of terror as he dropped to the floor. The owner of the knife retrieved it, stepping out of the smoke.

"Wildcard."

"He was going to blow up the ship." He countered, picking up the detonator and tossing it out the window. Girasev jogged out of the smoke. "The attack has failed."

Vector nodded back, "Good. Let's get you to safety." He held her as she clung to him for the rest of the journey.


Part 3: Tragedy

Chapter 18

Washington DC

12:00 pm April 2, 2016


"Uh Skipper?" Wildcard called through the other door. "You might want to come and see this."

Vector had finished transferring the others of Silver. Ernst, Girasev and Rampage were called to lead the remnants of the 141 by Major General Randolph. After saying their regretable goodbyes, they took a plane to the 141 HQ. Now Wildcard, Dare, himself and a replacement medic named Ron Haulner consisted of Silver.


Vector put the forms down and walked to the TV. An attractive reporter was standing in front of the White House.

"We have confirmed the death of first daughter Ariel Deleston in her room. Cause of death was by a bullet to the head. Investigators are looking into it as we speak. She was recently kidnapped by the terrorist group Black Fang and held for ransom for the US to convert to Ardent Salvation."

Vector's heart froze, he turned and walked away from the room without another word. Wildcard watched him, taking his vow of silence.


Later


Vector, Wildcard and Dare stood in front of Major General Randolph. Only sworn in Shepherd's place weeks ago, the middle aged man still had an experience in hand to hand combat. Now this famed man stood in front of the three LANCERs.

"Commander Magnum, Warrant Officer Xavier and Sergeant Sikex. I am proud to see you standing proud for the American flag, a very nice victory."

Vector's eyes were pained at the loss, "A hollow victory. General."

"Yes. We will not forget that. Commander, you're officially promoted to Colonel." He gave him the Colonel emblem, Vector's shocked eyes shifted as he took the emblem, pinning it on his jacket.

"Warrant Officer, you are now Lieutenant Xavier." Wildcard nodded, taking the bar and putting it on his dress jacket.

"Gunnery Sergeant Sikex." Randolph handed Dare the additional emblems to add on his Sergeant.

"Remember Ariel Deleston." The three LANCERs saluted and filed out of the room.


Monroe's mansion


Joseph Pelham parked his car in front of Monroe's mansion. The surgery was finished and now he had to take a new identity. His new pen name was Barry Quentin and he held a ticket to the Philipines. Not his favorite destination, but it was needed if he were to escape the Task Force. It took millions of dollars to get the surgery, nearly all of his savings when he joined Black Fang and Ardent Salvation. With the founder dead, his only chance to remain free was to go into hiding.


The President of Italy had just closed off Ardent Salvation's last refuge. Every day thousands of members, once devoted their lives to the cause now overloaded the phone, wishing to cancel their account. Pelham's assistant was frustrated by the phone, unable to process one line. Famous members like Kendra Peterson were now turning their backs on the group, saying they were convinced to support the group with money. In a span of a week, his lifetime achievement was reduced to a series of files that would be used for toilet paper.


Pelham walked inside the door, hearing it close behind him, he whirled around. A stranger had been hiding behind it. "Leave." He growled, not eager to have a conversation with the intruder.

"General Quentin. Yes?"

"It is. What do you want? I'm retired, so I have no means to discuss anything with you."

"You feel really guilty inside don't you?" The silhouette waved his hand, Pelham saw an ACR in his other hand pointed downward. He continued, "In my eyes, I think you're reeling inside because I know something that might surprise the world."

"So." Pelham said, almost calmly. "You were behind the attack on the Coast?"

The stranger nodded, "That virus that you put onboard the Coast as well as 38 other ships? Those containers are in a biohazard lab on their way to be destroyed once and for all."

"You understand?" Pelham shot back, already knowing his reply was futile. "Ardent Salvation was to teach them to be happy. I could have saved all of humanity!"

The man laughed, "You know how many phenomenons went around the world? The world was going to run out of coal in 1995, the world population was supposed to be ten billion in 2000. In 2010, the world was suggested to have a second terrible ice age. Every one of those predictions was wrong. A little secret I'll tell you. The future is not to be predicted and it cannot be predicted."


"You can't kill me. I'll face trial."

"Giving you an oppurtunity to force your dememted ideas to the world again." The stranger leaned in closer, Pelham saw him clad in armor with a frightening mask on. "Yeah. That's going to happen." He raised his ACR and fired one shot.

Pelham felt a dart impact in the neck and he reached to touch it, but lacked the strength.


Vector watched the man struggle and fall to the ground. He sent a signal and stood aside as Butch wheeled in the stretcher with Wildcard on the other side.

"Any problems?" Butch asked as Wildcard hefted the body on the stretcher.

"Nope. Remind me to take a shower after this. I've talked to some insane people before, but this one puts them all to shame."

They piled in the ambulance and sped off to the airport. A Learjet was waiting and they took it all the way to the USS Cerberus, holding position near Antartica. Then they boarded a PaveHawk and it took off, for the icebergs. Pelham was closely monitored the whole trip. Finally he stirred, just as the helicopter touched down. "Where are we? What have you done?"

Vector turned, "Your agonizing death." He popped open the side door, grabbing Pelham with one large arm and tossing him onto the ice.

"You should have died long ago, you sick freak. In my career, I have dealt with Soviet assassins and mercenaries that strike fear at the mention of their name, plus every perverted slime in between. You, are the most evil twisted thing ever to come to man. You could have showed the world how nice you religion was, but all you cared about was fucking with death." He shut the door, leaving Pelham to the merciless cold. the PaveHawk lifted off until he was only a speck in th distance.


Epilogue

Vector steered the Pave Low towards the Hydra. "Go!" He yelled, firing the minigun. It did little effect as the armor shrugged off the rounds.

"Colonel." Wildcard shouted back, "You don't have enough firepower!"

"That's fine. Just get the hell out of here!"

"Solid copy. Hit em hard skipper!"


Vector's mind flashed to Ariel Deleston, how she affected his life and killed herself from the trauma. This one was for her.

The Hydra spun the Pave Low out of control.

In a few moments, Vector would join her. "This is Vector, over and out." He pulled the throttle towards the monster helicopter. He looked to the sky, "Ariel....I'm coming for you."

The Pave Low vaporized Travis on impact, taking the Hydra down with it.

"Evac to the east." Wildcard motioned to Rain. "Let's go."


Author's note: Thank you for reading the prequel, this is my favorite one so far. I have plans to release a short one that sees Wildcard's and Dare's life after the big events. Thanks for reading!

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