The Morning After
March 8th, 2002 04:30 MST
I stepped out of the shower, took the towel from Tiger's mouth, and started drying off. Tiger had given me the run down on the page as I dried off, stating that we were needed for a briefing at 8:30 over in Langley, to go and break up a terrorist training camp. We were getting some assistance on this from Special Operations, much to the displeasure of some people at Null. They liked keeping things quiet. Tiger was speculating as to just who were were going in against, and it didnt help my nerves one bit.
I had a reason to be nervous. This was the first operation that I had been called upon since the incident. I was currently semi-unemployed, the company that I was employed at and I came to an agreement and I left. I had seen a few psychologists, and that helped bring the nightmares down to their current level. They used to be much worse. The dreams now, when I had them, were nearly pictures and the odd noise. They used to be much much worse. I could smell the charred flesh, the screams of victims that were too injured to move, or were too buried in the rubble on the destroyed floors for anyone to get to them. The smells were gone, the sounds almost gone, but the images remained.
I was dressed and ready for the briefing. I made sure everything was shut down, except for the PC and the fiber link to the 'net. I was dressed in my 'mission' clothing. The vest now held a Glock 21C, the ported version of the popular police .45 service pistol with two clips for it, in addition to the rest of the technical gadgets. I wore a set of sandals that were quite popular with digigrade morphs for both the fit and durability. In addition, they also allowed my foot claws to flex out if need be. I also had a pair of black slacks, the style used by SWAT teams, with appropriate modifications. Over all this, I wore a floor length grey trenchcoat, and jet black shades specially fit for my morphic form. Tiger was dressed in his usual next to nothing, only wearing a simular pair of shades, and a large grey wizard's hat. "Ready?" He asked. I nodded, and I initiated the warp, with Tiger in my influence. The world faded into a deep, rich blue tone as the field enveloped us. It got deeper, then it faded out as we reached our destination.
The destination site was the security entrance to the briefing room. I handed my ID card, submitted to a 3 level check, and was admitted. I saw at least ten different morphs. I was handed a folder bordered with various color codes. I strolled over to a bench, and Tiger jumped up and sat next to me so we could both read the briefing papers. This was going to an interesting mission. We were to "safe" a terrorist training camp, while destroying as little as possible. My role was to act as electronic support and a transport if need be. I would have a sniper watching us from a 'designated spot', a polite way of saying that we were not to know where, only that he was out there. There was a brightly colored bird morph there that was listed in the briefing as "demolitions expert and transport'. His Power appeared to also be a warp teleport. Most of the other team members had useful powers as well. I walked over to where he was sitting. He appeared quite nervous as I came up. "Agent Tamarik? I'm Agent Cook. I understand that you are also a teleporter?" He nodded, and we spent a few minutes talking shop, so to speak. It turns out that his teleport power is only good for about 200 Kg, so he'd probably end up just teleporting himself and the demo gear. The room started to quiet down, so I bid him well and returned to my seat as the mission commander walked in.
Undisclosed Fiber Junction station, Two Days Later
It was cold, and my butt hurt from sitting in this damp, smelly hole next to the fiber line. Tiger and I had merged, and we were currently sitting in norm mode with one paw in the junction box. My task was to not only disrupt the enemy's communications, but to facilitate ours. i had also cracked into their system, and was running a data transfer into a "safe" box that Null had set up. This way, we could see what they were teaching, and the best way to counteract it. I was starting to worry a bit. I had heard gun shots earlier, and I quietly queried to see if my friend was were he was supposed to be. He replied that he was, and replied that he had "neutralized a problem". I had a good idea of what he meant, so I acknowledged and kept on going. I heard the commanders message come in. "Tiger, please report status update." I 'manced a reply back: '85% done with data xfer. payload delivered and ready to trigger.' I then patiently waited for the two minutes for the data transmission to finish. I heard another ::CRACK!:: and a thump above me. My friend quietly advised to hurry the hell up, as he was starting to get nervous. The transfer finished at that point, not bad for the boonies: 13 Gb in little under five minutes. These were old fiber lines, and I counted myself lucky that I had managed that. I signaled that the xfer was done, and I got a message back: 'trigger payload, and extract.' I sent the trigger sequence, closed the box, and shifted up to morphic to get out. My friend saw my paw, and sent two clicks on the radio, a prearranged signal for me to get the hell out of there.
On my way out, I was able to see up close just what that fancy rail-gun that my guardian was using did to the people on the business end of it. The holes were nice and clean. To quote AC/DC, "There was hole in his body where his life had been." I didn't have much time for pondering this, though. I hauled ass to the extraction point, where the Spec. Ops boys were waiting to get us out. We waited a bit for the last person to show up, the demo expert. With a blue flash and a truly awful look on his beak, he appeared, we were all stuffed into a chopper, and we were heading toward home.
We were all de-briefed a day later, in the same stuffy room that we were briefed in. For the most part, Null had done it again, a flawless mission in non-perfect conditions. Myself and Tamarik were both mentioned as having done a stellar job, myself for retrieving the data off the systems and then wiping their online backups with a nasty virus, and Tamarik for rendering the building unusable. After the de-brief, we all went out to a nice dinner, and went home. The evening news that night reported that a building in some middle east country had collapsed, but fortunately, no one was injured.