Prologue: Share the Love, Please?

By Brian Morden (a.k.a. *Ar-Isildur)

At 20:00, we filed into our modified NightHawk helicopter to execute "Operation: Share the Love". Our mission, a covert raid on this home. It wasn't going to be easy, mercenaries patrolled the considerable plot of land that the home rested on, and security cameras abounded with stationary machine guns wired to their feed ... ready to open fire on any unidentified assailant. Definitely a tough place to crack; however, we had two major advantages going for us.

  1. Low cloud ceiling. This would enable our command crew in the helicopter to fly relatively low to the ground, yet still be above the clouds (thus out of sight), and monitor the situation from the air using a variety of infrared scopes and other high-tech gadgets. The fact that the home had no radar facilities of any kind, and the uncanny quietness of the NightHawk's rotors (it is a stealth helicopter, afterall) were major plusses as well.
  2. The backyard of the home consisted of 200 yards of open lawn, followed by nearly a half a mile of thickly wooded terrain. skot started preparing his sniper rifle excitedly when I told him this.

Keeping this knowledge in mind, the plan was to drop skot, Crystal, SilverBrin, and myself off at the edge of the wooded area, while Psyrixx and Moljnir (the command crew) monitored the situation from above. From there, we were to make our way to the home, use any means necessary to force our way in (even if it meant neutralizing a guard or 50), and make off with the goodies. It was a good plan.

We were well-armed. I had my suppressed FA-MAS. Crystal had her custom-made suppressed MP5K. SilverBrin was using his heavily modified Colt M16, complete with grenade launcher and sighting scope ... his weapon was unsuppressed but it was there incase all hell broke loose. skot of course had his sniper rifle. All four of us had a suppressed SOCOM as a sidearm, as well as two frag grenades and a combat knife.

We landed on the outskirts of the wooded area, and made our way through to the edge of the open field .. and we have been sitting there just inside the line of trees for almost an hour now while skot did reconnaissance through the scope of his sniper rifle.

”Heh, how much longer are we going to sit here?” I complained.

”Dude,” skot said without taking his eyes out of the scope, “I’m trying to figure out what pattern these mercs are patrolling so I can take out these cameras without them noticing. Those automated guns will rip us to shreds if they catch us out in the open. When I take those out, then we can move in on the mercs”

”kay,” I said, and I slumped back into the tree I was lying against.

”Em, since we’re not going much of anywhere, I’m gonna eat some of my cake, ok?” SilverBrin said, after having been silent for almost 30 minutes.

”You brought cake?” I replied.

”Yeah”

”Why in the world would you bring cake to a covert operation like this?”

”I figured I might get hungry!”

”UGH! That is so moronic! Couldn’t you have waited until we got back to the complex to eat?”

”No.”

”Fine, go ahead and eat some of your damn cake! ::sigh::”

SilverBrin opened his back-pack containing spare ammunition, signal flares, and camouflaged netting. At least, that’s what was supposed to be in it. Instead, the whole contents of his pack was two entire cakes.

”MY GOD!” I exclaimed, completely forgetting the danger.

”SHUT UP!” Yelled Crystal and skot in unison.

”SilverBrin,” I began, much softer. I paused and thought for a moment, struggling to find the right words for such an unbelievable situation. Finally, I took a deep breath, and continued, “What kind of cakes are those?”

”One is German Chocolate, the other is yellow with chocolate frosting.”

”Oh ….. could I have some?”

”Sure, what kind?”

”German Chocolate.”

”Here ya go.”

”Thanks.”

Pretty soon, the bite or two of cake we had planned on having escalated into a full-scale dance with gluttony, with SilverBrin leading. Crystal joined us shortly - but not skot - I think he was sleeping … still lying prone under his camouflaged netting with his chin propped up on his sniper rifle.

At last, two empty cake pans sat before the three of us. We weren’t sure whether we should feel proud, or disgusted. We felt full, however.

Suddenly, skot’s radio came to life – jarring him awake and us out of our gluttony-induced coma.

”Command to Assault team, this is Psyrixx, what’s going on down there!? It looks like you’re having a tea-party or something!” Spoke the unmistakable voice of our fearless leader, Psyrixx.

”Um, not that I know of,” skot replied, groggily.

”Ok, I give up, what is going on??”

”We’re doing our job! That’s what’s going on!”

”Then perhaps you’ve noticed that all but 4 of the guards are on coffee break, and those 4 guards are all near the front end of the house, and you guys are at the backyard?”

”Uh..”

”Thought so, take those cameras out and get to work … I’ll keep in contact with you guys here.”

”Yes ma’am.”

”Shut up.”

With that, skot immediately went to work. There were 3 cameras linked to automated guns, all in strategic locations at the back. We knew where all three were, so it was no big deal. Of course, I hadn’t counted on another aspect of skot’s kick ass sniper rifle.

skot adjusted his scope for maximum magnification, and began scanning for the first camera. Within ten seconds he had found it. He took careful aim, controlled his breathing, and…

*BLAM!*

It took about 10 seconds for the echoes of the shot to stop ringing around the surrounding area.

”Holy shit!” I exclaimed.

”Yeah, great isn’t it? Look how wasted the camera is!” skot replied.

”That’s not what I meant … give me that radio.”

”Sure.”

”Assault team to command, this is *Ar-Isildur, do you copy?”

”Affirmative *Ar, what’s up?” Psyrixx replied.

”Do the remaining guards show any indication of hearing that?”

”You mean skot’s rifle? Uh nope. Nothing different.”

”Seriously!? Whew!”

”Are you kidding me? I heard that from here! The guards are busy as bees trying to locate the source of the shot and calling for backup!”

”DAMMIT!”

”Yeah no kidding.”

”So what do we do, fearless leader?”

A moments pause. I could hear Psyrixx talking with Moljnir inaudibly. Then…

”*Ar, here’s what we will do. Moljnir and I will attack the guards in the NightHawk, and lead them off. Hopefully the reinforcements will follow as well. When we move in, knock out the last two cameras, and break into the house. From there, proceed to the omnistation and stuff everything you can into your backpacks. Then contact us, we will disengage the enemy and pick you up.”

”Roger that command. Over and out.”

The others had overheard the plan, and made ready to go. Sure enough, a few minutes later, the chopper flew overhead – barely heard, and barely seen against the night sky, and vanished behind the other side of the house. The staccato chatter of machine gun fire erupted from that area, and as if on cue, skot scanned for the second camera, found his target, took aim, and fired!

*BLAM!*

Again, the echoes took a full 10 seconds to die away. skot took a second to admire his shot, then began scanning for the next one. It didn’t take him long to sight the third, and last camera.

*BLAM!*

With that we made a break for the back of the house. I contacted Psyrixx.

”Command, this is *Ar-Isildur, the cameras are down, we are—“

”HURRY UP!!” Psyrixx’s reply, rather rude if you ask me.

”Uh, roger that sir.”

I noticed that amidst the sounds of battle not more than a couple hundred yards off, the sounds of rockets and explosions were mixed. “Curious,” I thought, “I wonder why Psyrixx and Moljnir are bothering to use rockets in an immensely one-sided air-to-ground engagement like this.” After a brief and hurried discussion amongst ourselves, we decided that the best course of action was to not waste any time and just break down the door. This we did, and with great gusto. And before our eyes stood, the omnistation

Oh man. What a beauteous sight. The widescreen TV, all the game consoles, stacks and stacks of games.

”Uh…” I started, at a complete loss of words.

Thought for a moment..

”You know, we better test this out. It would really suck if we ran out of here with the stuff and it wasn’t working!”

”Yeah!” Crystal agreed.

”OMB let’s do eet!” SilverBrin chimed in.

”Uh, are you su… uh ok.” skot added reluctantly.

With that, we promptly fired up the Xbox with Halo. Everything seemed to be in working order, but we decided to test it a little bit more strenuously. We started a 4 player game of King of the Hill on Battle Creek . I ended up winning that game, because no one beats me at King of the Hill. We then decided to play a game or two on every single map, to make sure the DVD was in perfect working order. Everything checked out fine, but we still weren’t quite satisfied. So we loaded up Truth&Reconciliation on Legendary, in coop mode, taking turns each time one of us died. skot proved to be the master of the sniper rifle, while Crystal was the unparalleled king of the needler. SilverBrin found a niche with the plasma rifle, and ended up kicking his share of ass as well. We had just started on the Silent Cartographer when our fearless leader came over the radio.

”COMMAND TO ASSAULT TEAM! COME IN ASSAULT TEAM!”

I was busy running over jackals in the warthog while SilverBrin gunned, so Crystal manned the radio.

”This is the assault team, Crystal here, what—“

”WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN!? IT’S BEEN THREE HOURS!!!

”No way! It can’t have been more than 15 minutes! ”LOOK AT YOUR WATCH, SWEETIE!”

”Oh my g—“

She was cut off by the chatter of assault rifle fire – uncomfortably close – and the appearance of several bullet holes in the wall beside us. We leapt for cover behind a wall perpendicular to the fire (the omnistation was at the end of a small hallway, with the hallway wall forming the back wall of the room, the fire came from the end of the hallway).

”Surrender now, and we will not harm you!” Rang a voice with a thick german accent.

We made no reply, save to flip the safeties off of our weapons and load them up – which was completely audible to the mercenaries down the hall. It meant we weren’t giving up without a fight. We all had our automatics ready, with the exception of skot. He had shouldered his sniper rifle and had his pistol drawn.

Minutes went by in this breathless stalemate, neither side willing to make a move. I decided to try to talk our way out.

”You can’t fire on us! You might damage the omnistation! Is that a chance you are willing to take?” I spoke, bravely.

”No it isn’t,” answered the german accented voice, “That is why it is behind bullet-proof glass.”

”Don’t bullshit me, we were just using it.”

”Look now!”

To our absolute horror, and lasting confusion, a thick layer of bullet-proof glass now separated us from the omnistation. Things were not looking good, we no longer had anything worth bargaining.

”Aw crap, what do we do now?” I whispered to Crystal.

”I don’t have a clue, but we must hold out!” She whispered back.

Gradually, I began to realize that the sounds of gunfire outside were getting closer. It had slowly died down until it all but disappeared when we first got to the omnistation, but now it was close … very close. Suddenly, an explosion rocked the house, shattering windows and disorienting the mercenaries.

We knew it was now or never.

Crystal and skot both tossed a grenade as hard as they could down the hallway. We waited for the explosions, then burst forth, guns blazing - the sound of which belied the power they wielded (all except for SilverBrin’s). The skirmish was quick, and one-sided. Half a dozen mercs lay on the floor dead or wounded … one had apparently managed to run out the back door and escape. I hastily checked outside, but he was nowhere in sight. Crap, he would bring more. We needed to move fast. Crystal took a few seconds to radio Psyrixx.

”Assault team to command, this is Crystal, we are heading for the rendezvous point NOW.”

”HURRY UP YOU MOTHERFU—“ Psyrixx was cut off by Moljnir screaming something I couldn’t make out.

We covered the 200 yards to the woodland quickly, and began making our way to the rendezvous point. Apparently no one had spotted us while we were in the open. What a lucky break!

We arrived at the rendezvous point, only to discover that the chopper was not there.

”Oh great, we’re trapped here! WE’RE SCREWED MAN! WE’RE SCREWED!” I yelled.

”Stow the belly-aching *Ar, remember, you’re a complex member!” Crystal replied.

”Look! Over there!” skot yelled, pointing to the horizon. There was our ride, locked in combat with two Apache helicopters. As if on cue, one of them disengaged and started making a B-line straight for us.

”Take cover!” SilverBrin yelled, and we dove for the trees. Just in time, the Apache had launched a pair of rockets, which landed where we had been standing five seconds ago. The shockwave of the two rockets propelled us even further, knocking Crystal into the trunk of a tree. It’s a good thing she landed behind a boulder, because the Apache started raking the area with chaingun fire, and Crystal was knocked senseless for a minute or two. I took shelter behind this same boulder, and waited for the firing to die down. A few seconds later, I realized that the Apache was bearing down on SilverBrin – the large tree trunk he was taking cover behind was being rapidly chipped away by the chaingun. I immediately came out from behind the boulder, took aim, and started peppering the cockpit with automatic fire in the hopes of hitting the pilot .. or at least distracting him so he’d target me. Sure enough, the chopper swiveled towards me, and opened fired. I took cover, and was in the process of reloading when I heard a *foomp* followed by a *BLAM!*. I risked a look, the Apache was coming apart, and going down in flames. I looked around wildly trying to figure out what had caused this, when I noticed SilverBrin with his rifle upraised, and his grenade-launcher barrel smoking.

”Wow! Nice shot SB!” I shouted, absolutely elated.

”Thanks dewd!” SilverBrin shouted back. “But uh, wasn’t there one more?”

We ran out the cover of the trees, and looked on in horror. The NightHawk was in real trouble! It was clearly damaged, and maneuvered sluggishly. It would take a miracle for it to win.

”Oh no! We have to do something!” I exclaimed, panic-stricken.

”I’m working on it,” skot said, calmly. I looked, and he was gazing into the scope of his sniper rilfle – pointing at the Apache. A moment’s pause, then…

*BLAM!*

Off in the distance, the helicopter’s rotor popped off up in the air, sending the helicopter careening towards the ground. It landed with a spectacular explosion, while we let out war whoops of triumph. Crystal came to about then, and joined us. skot reached into his backpack, and pulled out his flare gun, and fired a shot into the air. The NightHawk swiveled, then flew towards us and set down. We climbed aboard.

Psyrixx was livid.

”DO YOU HAVE ANY IDEA WHAT WE HAVE BEEN THROUGH???? THIS PLACE IS A FREAKING BEE’S NEST! WE’VE TAKEN ON A TOTAL OF 5 APACHE HELICOPTERS, TONS OF ANTI-AIRCRAFT GUNS, TANKS, JEEPS, OH AND LET’S NOT FORGET THE ROCKET LAUNCHER TOTING INFANTRY!!! YOU BETTER HAVE STOLEN EVERYTHING IN THERE!!!”

“Uh…” I began, “… actually, we got nothing.”

I was starting to feel sick. I felt the chopper lift off, that made it worse

”NOTHING!? WHAT DO YOU MEAN BY NOTHING?!?”

“Sorry sir,” Crystal said. She wasn’t looking too good either.

”Yeah em … er … we like tried to em … tried to steal stuff but it didn’t work out,” SilverBrin added, he looked like he was sick too.

“THEN WHAT WERE YOU DOING IN THERE FOR THREE WHOLE HOURS,” Psyrixx looked like he was about to explode.

”Erm… uh rixx I don’t feel so good,” I could feel the bile starting to rise.

”What?”

I didn’t answer, it was too late. I began to spew the cake I had eaten all over the floor. Seeing this, along with the combination of everything else that had happened prievously, SilverBrin and Crystal followed suit as well, while Psyrixx and skot looked on in horror.

It was a long flight home.