Chaos Insurgency is a Stupid Name: Briefing
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"So anyway, add 3 grams of aluminum powder and 9 grams of iron oxide. If you want a bigger amount then make sure to stay at that one to three ratio!"

Matthew was busily listing off his notes to Marion, the latter nose deep into the packet which had been handed out for their operation. Indeed, Operation Liquidation had begun and the duo was within the briefing room, a darkened area with a large table in the middle with multiple dented-up metal chairs surrounding the said table. They were early, much to the importance of Marion as he wanted to make sure he and his partner, Matthew, seemed professional for this. Unfortunately, it was difficult to tell his partner that talking about a recipe for a highly flammable substance was, "-Not needed right now Matthew! I need to study this and I can't with you rattling on-on…what are you even talking about?!"

Matthew paused, scratching the spot around his chin underneath the gas mask, "Thermite! I haven't even told you about the magnesium strip yet, you just stick it into the mixture a-", he was cut off once again by Marion.

"Darling, dear, love of my life, the beauty of my world. I'm going to strangle you if you don't just shut up for one moment about magnesium strips!!" He slapped the packet down upon the table before adjusting his posture. The packet went on about the notable task forces that The Foundation had, ranging from MTF Eta-10 ("See No Evil") to MTF Phi-Eolh ("Provident Trawlers"). General info like their presumed purpose and how well equipped they are. Commander names were scattered here and there, high-class targets that Delta command would love to snatch the heads of. Quite literally. Taking people prisoner was always preferred but in The Insurgency's line of work? Prisoners are a privilege that commonly can't be afforded.

Matthew had fallen silent, foot bouncing up and down repeatedly as his fingers twiddled together within the silent room. Too silent. He could hear his tinnitus acting up in the left ear, that constant ringing that just makes you want to say something, say anything to provide some relief. Had to be only one ear, an explosion with a timer that was way too short. He had set it up perfectly, but perfect doesn't exist and everyone makes mistakes. He had to get rid of that mindset: mistakes are one thing they can't afford now.

He was broken out of the cursed existence of silence when the metal door screeched open, scraping against the concrete ground as the sound of coughing filled the air, a waft of smoke entering the room. The couple immediately knew who this was. They stood up obediently, Marion with his arms crossed behind his back and head held high while Matthew had a slight hunch and had his hands tucked within his pockets with the thumbs sticking out.

Walking in was an old grizzly woman, wrinkles upon her tan skin that was adorned with camo attire that held a damaged state that was associated with long age, including a mix of cigarette burns and patches covering the outfit. The woman herself gave a dismissive wave, cheap Marlboro cigarette flitting through the air as the couple sat back down. Her cold sapphire eyes examined them for a second before walking over to the head of the table, slapping down a manilla folder she had been carrying, "You're early," The raspy voice sounded.

Marion gave a nod and responded politely, "We wanted to set a good example ma'am," to which the veteran gave a roll of her eyes and adjusted her bifocals as she opened the folder. The front paper had the familiar logo of The Chaos Insurgency along with the usual warning to not open the document without the appropriate authorization.

"Good example? Hmph, cut the shit Marion, relax for a damn second. Your fellow crew will be with you in a couple of minutes, if you're going to look impressive for anyone it's going to be them," she flicked the cigarette down onto the table, ash settling down before she went into another fit of coughing. Matthew, twitched at the eruption of noise from the old woman, relaxing when their general had given permission to do so. He didn't think General Morales would be here, the battle-tested lady being an Insurgency veteran. She wasn't actually a general of course, but rather it was a title that many of the people in the Operations she had led happened to call her. Matthew was astonished that she was still kicking, rumors always around that she had been smoking since sixteen and had enough shrapnel in her to be considered a cyborg.

Now it was Marion's turn to feel uncomfortable, staring down at the packet that he had been poring over for the past hour. Ranging from inconspicuous agents to heavily equipped soldiers, MTF units were nothing to be trifled with. They had a scientist and an EOD specialist, hardly a team with the lack of obvious essentials. He glanced toward Matthew, seeing the gas mask twitch about as his fingers tapped against his knee as a certain nervous tic. Marion looked back at the empty spot across from him, staring at the concrete wall that was cracked from age. Everything is fine.

Matthew was wondering when he was going to be eating next, imagining a turkey sandwich. He wanted to blurt something out, anything to get his head out of this senseless pouring of info that he was receiving. It's like that feeling when you're alone and haven't spoken in a while, the thoughts in your head beginning to echo within your own cranium and lapse over the rest of the words. It all becomes a jumbled mess until the urge to just say a word is too much and with one syllable escaping your lips, that mess in your head is gone. Matthew felt this so many times before, wanting to just blurt something out but he knew that his partner wouldn't like the silence to end. So he tapped his knee repeatedly, foot silently patting against the ground as he leaned forward and eyes scanned slowly across the room. That feeling worsens usually, breathing gets quicker and your anxiety rises, you brain screaming in your head at this point with dozens upon dozens of thoughts that are left without a response. Alas, these moments always come to an end and this moment is just like any other, especially when Matthew heard the door creak open once more.

All three heads currently within the room looked up to gaze upon two newcomers. The first was a tall woman, a hunched over posture and hands busily wiping grease onto an already oily welding jacket. Brown eyes gazed slowly around the room before she took her place at the table. Matthew recognized this woman as Ayla, a mechanic that was known for her work in both land and air vehicles. Matthew recalled she had a sharp tongue and a habit of taking Insurgency vehicles out for drives in the middle of nowhere while on drunken benders.

The room then turned its gaze to the next newcomer, a male of average height with a thin frame, they wear old blue scrubs that had seen better days with the smattering of droplets of blood and other such fluids upon it that best not be mentioned. A face mask that was being worn was lowered gently by the man, his brown eyes scanning the room just as the previous person had done. The scan was complemented with a small click of the tongue before he had sat down. It was Marion's turn to have a sweep of recognition cross his face, knowing the man to go by the name of Keith, a Canadian snob that was good with a scalpel and limited supplies.

Eyes met, the four that would make up this ragtag troop sizing up every man and woman that was here. Marion had only one question, well two, but the first one was more important: is that all? He turned to look toward Morales, the old hag in the middle of repeatedly flicking a plastic green lighter that sparked but didn't catch. He cleared his throat, getting her attention, before then speaking, "Will all due respect but…is this it? Four people? We seem more like a squad than a whole Operation, ma'am."

General Morales grumbled before setting the lighter down and giving a single glare toward Matthew, the functioning pyromaniac catching the cue and reaching into his pocket for a lighter. She turned her stink-eye gaze onto Marion before responding, "You're a cell for the Operation. Each previous Operation got the call to get a small group together and send 'em off. You're all the lucky winners of the raffle. Congratulations."

Ayla, who had been watching with crossed arms and narrowed eyes, spoke up in a gruff tone, "And what a small group it was. Look, we have me, a guy that plays with sparklers, a boot-licking egghead, and Black Friday Frankenstein over here." She jerked a thumb in the direction of Keith, his hand rising to give a dismissive wave with another click of his tongue.

Keith gave a retort with a closed-eyed smirk, his tone having the subtle Canadian accent to it, "Little miss prissy bitch over here. Relax and let General speak, ay?"

Morales, who had used the metal Zippo lighter with a picture of a hedgehog on it, brought the now lit Marlboro to her lips, "You were all picked because of your versatility, allow my cold, dead heart to say it, but you all have skills that complement each other quite well. Like it or not, you four are going to have to get along and I'm sure as hell not gonna be helping with that."

Matthew, who had taken back his lighter and was now flicking it on and off, peered up through his gas mask right at Morales and spoke curiously, "So…who's our head?" He glanced over to Marion, seeing the quizzical expression before looking back to the frowning general.

"No one officially, we expect you four to sort that out. You're a cell, just like what we are but now you're making your own. That means you're going far the hell away from here, thank God for my health on that one, and you won't be getting contacted by us." Morales slowly looked around the room, opening her mouth once more before closing it slowly and shaking her head.

Marion blinked, eyes widening slightly before he took a dried mouth gulp. Their own cell…he didn't think too hard about the implications of that but now that it was laid out to him, he was more scared than before. Sure, this place didn't get much funding either, hell they didn't even have uniforms. It was home though for a long while and he might have finally thought there was a slight bit of stability in, excuse the pun, chaos.

Marion raised a hand, speaking quietly, "Ma'am…one more question." Morales, who had been looking back down at the folder, gave a nod and a gesture with her hand to speak. "I'm…why have I been assigned to this group?" He hoped it wasn't only because Marion was here, the two locked together by the merciful nature of Delta Command. What he really meant by the question was why has a researcher been assigned to a group that, hopefully, is dealing with MTF personnel rather than anomalies. He knew his way around a pistol, sure, and he was larger than most, but he wasn't a fighter by any capacity.

Expecting an answer from Morales, he rose an eyebrow when Keith rose a hand from his leaned back position and spoke out, "I have the answer to that." Marion looked to Keith, the doctor explaining with a single statement and follow-up, "Delta Command said I had to carry out a little operation on you that apparently, you're quite a good match for, hell, they gave me the supplies for it and everything."

"You ever heard of the 'Mike' program?"

VIDEO LOG


DATE: 1/12/22

NOTE: Dr. Marion's "Mike Integration" procedure. Conducted by Dr. Sanderson in preparation for Operation Liquidation.


[BEGIN LOG]

0800: Dr. Sanderson prepares surgical tools. The subject has been placed under anesthetic. Explosive Specialist Matthew is allowed to observe from a one-way window

0830: Surgery begins, process involves removal of a portion of the skin and skull in the back of the head. Dr. Sanderson is vocalizing the process out loud, Specialist Matthew appears able to hear.

0845: Skull successfully opened. "Mike" Control node is inserted and connected along certain parts of the brain. Still under anesthesia, the subject is twitching uncontrollably. Restraints are tightened. Specialist Matthew appears visibly distressed. Dr. Sanderson is noted to be remarking that the brain's impulses are causing the implantation difficulty. More anesthetic applied as Specialist Matthew leaves

0900: Device implantation a success. Metal plate installed and Dr. Sanderson is noted to reach under the table and produce a bottle of liquor.


[END LOG]

"They said he's fine and recovery takes a bit from what Keith was telling me. He told me the process they have down is nearly foolproof, unlike when Craggs was starting it all up apparently." Matthew was sitting within the garage of their HQ, sound of metal scraping and saws whirring from the handful of insurgents. He was hanging out with Ayla, both of them sitting in the opened-up bed of a truck as they watched a small box TV that was set up on a stool, the power cord trailing off toward a wall. It had an American football game on.

Ayla shrugged before taking a glance toward Matthew, the hunched-over man hard to read with the gas mask but he was obviously upset at the matter. Who wouldn't be? His partner just got his head opened like a can. "Eh, look. If Delta Command ordered it then there wasn't a choice to begin with. Besides, as much of a moose fucker as that Sanderson fellow is, he knows a thing or two about Mikes."

Matthew nodded, watching a field goal kick win the game. Huh, the Bengals never win usually. He shrugged before sliding off his seat and responding, "Sure, but it doesn't make me feel better. I mean, shit Ayla, they stab a remote control into my boyfriend's head so he can control their puppets. Seem a little fucked up to you? I only talked with a controller once before…they don't seem…they don't act normal.

Ayla raises an eyebrow, "How's that?"

"They….they're gaze is too far off. Like, you're looking at them and they are looking at you but not really looking at you. You talk to them and sometimes they just kinda…zone out. If I had my consciousness spliced up to be controlling multiple hosts, then I would probably be the same way."

A long moment of silence came from between the two before Matthew just shrugged and continued, "I don't know. I'm going to go and visit him, take care." He turned himself to leave before pausing when he saw the familiar limping figure of General Morales approach. She gives a nod in the direction of Ayla before speaking to both of them.

"Got some news for you both," she turned her gaze back and forth between the two, "Firstly, your boyfriend got his proposal denied for a name change. We're still the Chaos Insurgency…go figure that would happen. Marion's also fine, found our sawbones and he apparently caught Marion up to speed. Keith said it was a 'satisfactory recovery', so I assume your man is fine."

Matthew shrugged before Ayla piped up, "Doubt you walked your limping ass up to tell us that, cmon, what's the grit, Morales?"

The general gave a chuckle, "Got an old factory in Ohio set up as your Operation point. Got a whole MTF squad that Command wants to be removed after you get set up as well."

Matthew blinked before glancing toward Ayla. Already? He supposed Delta Command didn't wait for shit. God did he know that was true. "So? What's the task force?"

Morales gave a chuckle, a raspy chuckle that could only come from a long-term smoker.

"MTF Nine-Tailed Fox."

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