Operation Galvanic Ukulele


rating: +8+x

December 23rd, 1989

"Entering the drop zone in 30 seconds," the masked pilot said from the cockpit.

"Saddle up, boys. We're dropping in. Make sure you've got your suppressors on, and don't fire until I've given the word," Captain Stone said to the operatives crammed together in the small helicopter.

"Copy that, Captain," Operative Hurst stated.

"We're like god damn anchovies in a tin here, sir," Operative Hurst whined sarcastically.

"Can it, Charlie. You've lived through the two-hour flight here, you can struggle a bit longer." Captain Stone retorted.

Charlie could only groan in return as he adjusted the balaclava on his face and fastened the buckle on his helmet. Around the cabin, Stone could see the operatives preparing themselves. He could hear the loud strapping of velcro, and the loading of ammunition into rifles. The two red lights bathed the cabin in a sullen glow. Standing in the corner of the cabin, Stone could see his sergeant, Dallas, strapping extra magazines to his vest, while slipping his tactical knife into the sheathe on his shoulder. He looked up and nodded at Stone before raising his hand to the hanging strap and grasping it firmly.

Stone sighed as he looked around the cramped cabin. He was tired of ducking his head to avoid hitting the ceiling and was happy to finally get onto solid ground again.

The Captain turned his head to look out of the viewport. He saw hundreds of trees, reaching all the way to the horizon. Snow had begun to fall, and it covered the landscape in a peaceful white blanket. An Aurora Borealis shimmered in the sky, illuminating everything in a greenish tint.

The co-pilot swung his head around to face Captain Stone as he sat up from his chair and slowly moved into the cabin.

"10 seconds, Captain. We're right above the drop zone."

"Copy. Thanks, Millar," Stone said, before turning to the cabin.

"Alright, here we go. Hurst, Burke, you'll lead the drop. Ray, Hark, you're next. Dallas, you're with Albany," Stone said calmly before moving to the large door on the side of the helicopter.

"Green light in five seconds, sir," Millar said into his microphone.

The two lights flashed from a dark crimson to a bright green, and the lights began to flash sequentially. Stone, Dallas, and Millar moved to either side of the cabin, and pulled the large doors open, letting the cold air and snow gust into the cabin. Stone could smell the cold snow as it fluttered by him and he took several deep breaths.

"Go, go, go!" Stone said to Hurst and Burke, yelling over the wind.

"Last one down pays for drinks when we get back to 1121," Burke said, teasing Hurst.

"You're on, Amanda," Hurst shot back.

Burke grabbed the rope, then patted Hurst and gave him a thumbs up. They rappelled down to the ground several meters below.

Hark strapped his Walkman to his belt before turning around to face Ray.

"Let's go, mate," Ray said to Hark as he grabbed the rope and handed the other rope to him.

The pair slid down the rope and landed on the forest floor. Dallas and Albany stepped up to the open doors, wind pouring into the cabin and blasting Stone in the face with snow.

"You ready for your first mission as Lance Corporal, Albany?" Stone said, raising his voice over the howling wind as he fastened the buckles on his helmet.

"Shouldn't be too difficult, you focus on yourself old man," Albany called out to Stone as he adjusted the balaclava onto his face, pulling it over his stubbled chin.

Stone pulled his vest over his chest and strapped it on, "Alright, get going you two. Meet the rest of the squad on the floor and prepare to move. We've only got five hours of night left."

"Copy, sir. See you at the bottom Corporal," Dallas said, rappeling down the rope without Albany.

Albany stood for a moment and slid down the rope after him.

The Captain stood for a moment and mentally prepared himself for the mission.

This is a big one, Oliver. Don't mess it up.

"You're clear to rappel, Captain," Dallas said into his microphone, breaking Stone out of his mind and dragging him back to reality.

"Copy," Stone said as he grasped the rope and rappeled down to the forest floor.

Stone landed in the snow with a crunch. When he reached the bottom, the squad had already formed a circular perimeter. The group had landed in a small clearing, surrounded by an immensely large forest.

Stone looked up to the sky and saw the helicopter disappearing over the trees in the cold night, "Have a safe trip, Millar," Stone said, speaking into his microphone.

"Happy hunting, Sir," Millar said with a chuckle as the helicopter soared into the distance.

"Alright, Trident-1. We're going to move three klicks North-East to regroup with Trident-2 and Helix-1. Helix-2 is currently moving to secure the entrance to the hostile site with our special guests from Zeta-62. Specialist Burke, Hurst, I want you two to scout ahead for Trident-2, radio in when you find them," Captain Stone said as he pulled out his map and compass from a pouch on his chest.

Captain Stone pointed in front of the group and the operatives began marching through the dark forest. Burke and Hurst jogged in front of the group and eventually moved out of sight in the gloomy forest.

As the group began to move forward, Stone looked around him, letting his legs go into auto-pilot. He peered at the tree line, studying the silent forest. The only noises around were the sounds of his squad chatting and the calls of nocturnal animals. He looked up, revealing the shimmer of the Aurora Borealis lighting up the starry sky and casting a greenish glow on the environment as it whipped and danced in the sky. Stone unlatched a pocket on his chest and took out a cheap disposable camera he had picked up in one of the local towns. He slowed his pace and snapped a picture of the sky.

"Stone, this is Operative 'Stance', do you copy," a voice crackled in Stone's headset.

"Copy Burke, send it," Stone said into his microphone as he walked.

"We've made contact with Helix-1 and Trident-2, and we're holding position now," Burke said smoothly.

"Copy that, moving double-time to your position. We'll meet you at Rally Point Alpha," Stone said as he began to jog, signalling for his squad to do the same.

"Copy that, Stance out," She said as her crackling voice wisped away.

"Let's move it along, we don't have all night," Stone said to his squad.

Stone's squad was jogging behind him as they ran through the dark and damp forest. The soft snow crunched under their feet and left a trail of footprints where they passed.

The fresh snow smelled wet, and Stone couldn't feel his hands or nose. He cupped his gloved hands together and rubbed them energetically.

"Cold, Boss?" Hark called out from behind the Captain.

"Extremely," Stone replied, still rubbing his hands, but at a slower pace.

"At least it isn't as cold as the Windbreak Op. I swear Ray's feet turned to popsicles by the time we were out of there," Hark said, chuckling, and together Ray and Hark jogged at a quicker pace to catch up to Stone.

"I'm just disappointed that Ray didn't experience paradoxical undressing3," Stone said, smirking and pointing at Ray.

"Hey man, when we get out of here you're going to find that camera smashed into a million bits," Ray laughed, pointing towards the camera in Stone's jacket pocket.

Stone took the plastic blue disposable camera out of his pocket, "I'm trying to take a photograph of every Op we go on, just a little side hobby I've developed."

"That camera looks like it's about to fall apart on its own, even without Ray's help," Hark butted in.

"Looks like pretty piss-poor value too, how much did that little rinky-dink camera cost?" Ray said, grabbing the camera and looking at it.

"It was 18 dollars, only camera they had in the whole shop, though," Stone said, protesting Ray's jokes.

"Alright, Ray. Let the Boss enjoy his little project in peace, no need to terrorize him," Hark said, chuckling and nudging Ray's arm with his elbow.

The two operatives moved back behind Stone and he was left back in silence, alone with his own thoughts.

Stone could hear the hoots of owls and distant calls of the night. He found himself going back into auto-pilot and listening to the noises. Albany ran up to his right and smacked him on the back. Stone let out a weary sigh.

"Stone, how far out are we from the other squads?"

"100 or so meters, keep your pants on," Stone retorted, punching Albany's shoulder.

Dallas ran up to the pair.

He pointed ahead of them, seeing rays of flashlights in the distance.

"We have arrived, Captain,"

"Burke, we're approaching your position now, I'm sending Albany to establish contact," Stone said as he waved the Lance Corporal forward.

Albany took off in front of them to make contact with Burke and Hurst.

After he was out of earshot, Dallas said "He's a good one, Captain. His heart is in the right place, I hope he's ready for this mission," and nodded in Albany's direction.

"I didn't promote him to Lance Corporal out of the kindness in my heart, I have faith in him," Stone said with a chuckle.

"I'll take the team up to meet the others, we need to get this op done as soon as possible."

"Copy, Dallas."

Stone passed through the tree-line to see small field lanterns and tarps strewed around the clearing in the forest. Thirty or so operatives huddled together in groups, with their backpacks and gear on the floor. He could see dozens of footprints in the area, uncovering the damp and dead grass below. There were many tents, but one, in particular, stood out to Stone.

The captain moved to the fallen pine tree that was being used as a table that had a dozen agents huddled around it. Overhead, a dark green canopy speckled with snow was covering the majority of the agents. He pushed his way through the mass of operatives to get to the front.

Commander Bowman from MTF Zeta-6 was making a speech about the upcoming mission so Stone quietly sat down in a small fold-out chair with a variety of maps of the surrounding area spread across the large tree. The maps had lightly torn edges and looked like they were slightly damp. Water dripped through a tear in the canopy, and it continuously dripped onto one of the maps, leaving a damp mark on it and weathering the markings.

"… and so, we're moving up the main corridor while two teams flank on the left and right, moving to the storage sector and the office sector. Trident-1 and Trident-2 will take the main corridor while Helix-1 takes the storage sector and Helix-2 sweeps the office sector looking for our informant, his codename will be Mr. Magenta. He works with Iota-10, so make sure to put on a good show for him. I'll talk more to Lance Corporal Albany and Sergeant Dallas about that after this meeting."

Bowman put her hands out and leaned on the mossy tree, looking around at the faces of everyone. She gave a sigh and stood up, folding her arms. The Captain could see her weary face, as she was one of the only operatives not wearing a balaclava. Stone saw the wrinkles beginning to form on her cheeks and around her eyes, and her short blonde hair had begun to grey.

"You know your groups, prepare to move out in ten. Remember, these Chaos agents won't hesitate to take you out, so you've got to be thinking on your feet at all times. Show me what you got Titan-1, you're dismissed," Bowman said, sitting down in her fold-out chair and taking a cigarette out of her jacket pocket, placing it between her lips, and lighting it.

The agents cleared out from the tree, moving to their squads and preparing for the mission. Stone could see Albany and Dallas clearer as agents sauntered away. Albany and Dallas moved forward to Bowman and sat down in the flimsy chairs.

Stone looked across the damp tree. There were multiple maps spread across it, with worn edges. They were held down with several magazines, replacing paperweights. Two lanterns sat at opposite ends, illuminating the commander and the three agents with a stark white fluorescent light.

"Good to see you, gentlemen. So in this raid, our operative on the inside will need to be extracted, I want you three on it to triple check he gets out of that hell-hole without a scratch," Bowman said, between drags of her cigarette.

"Aye, we can do that. What does this man look like?" Albany said, placing his hands on the moss and fidgeting with a rifle magazine used as a marker to show the location of the hostile site.

Dallas slapped Albany's hand and grabbed the magazine, placing it back on the map. He sat back in his seat and crossed his arms.

"He'll have white slicked back hair, tinted red sunglasses, and a white suit with a pink flower on it. He'll be in office number 17, labelled 'Doctor Humphrey'. Just knock on the door and say 'Did you find the golden crucifix?' and he'll unlock the door. From there he'll follow you out. He has a revolver with him already so he can fend for himself if absolutely necessary," Bowman said in between puffs of her cigarette.

"Got it, Commander," Stone said.

"This man is labelled as Charlie Priority, if anything happens to him we'll have our asses handed to us on a platter. Do I make myself clear?" Bowman said loudly.

"Crystal, ma'am," Dallas said, finally speaking up.

"Good. Prep your teams to move out, no fuck-ups on this one," Bowman said, putting out her cigarette on the rotting tree and standing up. She grabbed her helmet and moved to the Zeta-6 team on the opposite side of the clearing.

Stone puffed air out of his mouth with exaggerated force.

"Sheesh, she's a real piece of work," Stone said wearily.

"What do you expect from ex-CIA. They're all hardasses," Albany said with a chuckle.

"Albany, you're with me. Let's go prep the teams," Dallas said, standing up and shaking Albany's right shoulder.

"Aye, let's head out," Albany said standing up and pushing his chair under the table.

"Moving out in 30 seconds, we'll RV with Helix-2 at the entrance and proceed from there," Stone heard the crackling of Bowman's voice through his headset.

"You heard the nutcase, get ready," Albany said, smirking under his mask.

"Alright, let's move out," Stone said to the operatives surrounding him.

The three groups began to trudge forwards into the tree-line and towards the Chaos Insurgency station. The groups disappeared into the trees and faded away into the night.

"Trident-1 to Helix-2, do you copy?" Stone said into his radio.

"Copy, Trident-1, this is Helix-2-1, go ahead," Helix-2's lieutenant said.

"We're approaching your position, 50 meters out," Stone answered.

"Copy, we're ready to receive you. Lieutenant Holt out," Holt said, ending the conversation.

The groups emerged from the tree-line, appearing in front of a massive concrete wall. Stone looked up and saw "Z-12" painted onto the wall in a dirty white colour and large bold text. The paint looked old and weathered, with several portions washed away after many years. Eight bodies were laying in the snow, all with the insignias of Chaos Insurgency agents on their shoulders. Lieutenant Holt stepped over a body to greet Stone and Bowman.

"Welcome to Listening Outpost-12-Zeta, located in Butt-Fuck Nowhere, Yukon Forest, Commander," Holt said pointing behind him. "Mr. Magenta supplied us with the entry code and authentication number so cracking it'll be a piece of cake," Holt said, gesturing for the group to move towards the large metal doors.

They all crowded around the entrance, moving to either side of the massive containment doors as Holt and his corporal moved to the control console.

"Mitchell, give me a hand with this," Holt said as the two huddled together. "Enter the auth password and I'll input the entry code," he said as Corporal Mitchell stepped next to him and began tapping away at the console.

"Alright… There we go," Holt said, stepping away from the console as the colours shifted from a deep blue to light green.

Seconds later, Mitchell finished the authentication password and the sound of a loud click could be heard originating from within the doors.

"Alright, here we go. Everybody stack up, make sure you're on the right net-frequency," Stone said to the team. He could hear the clicking of radios and reloading of rifles.

"Remember, Trident-1 and -2 take the middle hallway, Helix-1 takes the left, leading to the storage centre and Helix-2 takes the right towards the offices. Trident-1-1, 1-2, and 1-5 will join them, then Zeta-6 will push in the back, providing support," Bowman said, breathing heavily.

Holt tensed his body, "Ready when you are, Commander."

"Open the doors, Holt," Bowman said.

Holt pressed a final button on the panel and a loud buzzing began to emanate from the doors. Ray and Hark readied their stun grenades, gripping them tightly in their hands.

"Throw the bangers," Bowman said into her microphone.

Ray and Hark pulled the pins of the flashbangs and hurled them into the chamber.

They heard the yelps of several individuals inside, "We've got hostiles!" the operatives heard from the inside as they could hear the groaning of other Chaos agents. The massive doors opened with a grinding halt and the operatives flooded in, immediately firing their rifles upon seeing the Chaos Insurgency personnel in the hallway.

As the doors opened, the Captain peaked around the corner to quickly analyse the room. There was a wooden reception desk sitting at the front, and several signs hanging above it. Warm fluorescent lights lit the hallways breaking off from the entrance. The floors in the hallways were all covered in grates, and underneath Stone could see large piping and cables crisscrossing and stretching down the hallways.

"Helix-2, with me," Stone said as he diverted the squad down the right hallway towards the offices, following the light blue arrows on the floor.

The two Trident units moved to the centre hallway. Ducking into cover, hiding behind large crates, shelving units, and technical equipment while firing their rifles at Insurgency agents down the long hallway.

"Helix-1, containment sector on the left, go, go, go!" Corporal Mitchell yelled over the sound of gunfire.

Stone, Albany, and Dallas came to an intersection. Stone quickly darted his eyes between the three bronze signs on the ceiling labelled: "Break Room/Room-01 - Room-15," "Room-15 - Room-30," and the last sign, "Room-30 - Room-45," Stone gestured for Albany and Dallas to follow him, and together they went down the middle corridor.

As they ran through the hallway, they could hear the distant yells of researchers and agents throughout the halls. Stone glanced at the damp lighting that shone on large piping that covered the walls as they zigzagged between corridors, and operatives began to file down different halls as they continued running.

Stone heard the exhausted voice of Hurst crackle over his radio, "Stone! Burke's been hit bad. Looks like a shot to the artery, centre of the bicep. Possibly the brachial artery, bleeding like hell, sir!"

"Shit. Can you give her a tourniquet?" Stone said as he slowed to a jog and signalled to Dallas and Albany to continue running.

"All over it, Captain. I've already given her a dose of TXA4. Ray and I are trying to apply the IV now. Hark already called a medevac, and we're pulling back for now while Zeta-6 pushes in," Hurst said, exhausted and tired as he propped Burke on a field stretcher.

Stone could hear Hurst lean away from the radio, "Ray, for god's sake hold the god damn bag still," Hurst leaned back and spoke to Stone, "Sir, get that prick Magenta out of here as soon as you can, this is turning into a shit sandwich," He said between long breaths.

"Get a hold of yourself, Hurst. She won't make it if you lose your cool. She needs you focused right now," Stone said in a soothing voice.

Hurst took several deep breaths, "Yes sir, sorry sir."

"Good man, keep me updated. Stone out," He said, jamming his radio in a pocket and running after Dallas and Albany.

The Captain ran down the hallway, listening to the echoing footsteps of operatives all around him.

Stone turned the corner and saw four operatives huddled around Office number 17, the frosted glass door made it nearly impossible to see inside, but the number 17 and 'Doctor Humphrey' was written in large golden text. Albany and Dallas were on either side of the door while two Helix-2 operatives were watching the hallway on either side.

"Ready for you, Captain," Dallas said, not turning his head to face Stone.

"Alright Albany, recite the code," Stone nodded at Albany and he moved in front of the door.

The Lance Corporal gingerly knocked on the door.

"Did you find the golden crucifix?" He whispered, leaning closer to the door.

The team heard the door unlatch, and the sight of a tall man in a white suit greeted them.

"Are you going to stand there all day? Get in," Mr. Magenta said, filtering annoyance through his light Australian accent.

The group stepped in, and Mr. Magenta closed the door behind them, locking it and rattling the door to test it.

Dallas stumbled over a body lying on the ground. Blood pooled around the neck and head, caking the velvet carpet. Stone looked around and saw another body, slumped over the desk with the arms splayed out, with a waterfall of blood trailing off the desk and onto the floor. A large hunting knife was embedded within the chest of the corpse.

"As you can see, I was discovered right before you lads arrived. I have all of the intelligence on me, though. Kept it in a lockbox in my desk," Mr. Magenta said as he stepped over the body and opened a drawer in the large mahogany desk.

Stone looked around the office, noticing several awards hanging behind the desk on the wall. Two were labelled "Employee of the Month" and the others were various corporate achievement awards that Stone didn't bother reading. on the wall to Stone's left, a cracked mirror sat on the floor, with several shards scattered around the corpse on the ground.

The Captain glanced at the clutter on the desk and the corporate posters on the wall.

This is the most generic office I've ever seen. Why is this guy so important?

Mr. Magenta knelt and retrieved a bronze key from his pocket before quietly unlocking a large metal chest, and a loud click emanated from the box. He pulled a notebook out of the box, there were stray pages stuffed into the book, with the words "Humphrey's log" written in bold black text on the cover of the worn leather notebook. He stuffed the small book into his jacket pocket.

"Alright, I'm ready to exfil," He said, standing up and cracking his back.

Dallas held his radio up to his mouth, "Bowman, Magenta is safe and we're ready to exfiltrate at Rally Point Bravo."

"Good, get him out of there, Sergeant," Bowman said, crackling over the radio.

"We're good to go, Captain," Dallas said to Stone.

"Let's move out," one of the Helix-2 operators murmured.

The Helix-2 operatives filed out of the cubicle first, watching the long hallway. Stone and Dallas moved out of the room and Mr. Magenta followed them. Albany followed Magenta and closed the cubicle door behind them as they slowly began to move back down the hallway towards the exit.

The rear Helix-2 operator turned to follow Albany, but several bullets fired down the hall and penetrated her back and head, and she yelped as she fell onto Albany. The back of the Lance Corporal's neck and head were soaked in blood, and he fell to the floor under the weight of the agent. Albany let out several loud groans as the rest of the team scrambled to help.

Stone yelled over the gunfire, "Dallas, take Magenta and get him outta here."

"Copy, sir. Come with me, agent," Dallas said as he quickly turned and patted Magenta's shoulder as he began to jog, Magenta retrieved a revolver from his jacket and turned to follow Dallas as they disappeared around the corner.

Stone turned to the sound of more gunfire, and bullets flew into the wall next to him. He jumped back into the opposite wall and gulped several deep breaths.

He leaned around the corner and fired his rifle, striking a Chaos agent. He swung his rifle over his shoulder and grabbed Albany by the back of his vest. Stone quickly pulled Albany back as the Lance Corporal fired his rifle down the hall.

The other Helix-2 operative moved to suppress the Chaos agents down the hall, but he was shot in the shin and fell to the floor, gripping his leg tightly as he groaned in pain.

Stone grabbed the other operative and dragged the two agents back down the hallway to the exit. When they were safe, Stone let go of the two and Albany stood up and wiped the back of his neck with his glove.

"You alright, Albany?" Stone said, out of breath.

"Aye, I'm good to move. What about you, what's your name?" He said, kneeling to meet the Helix-2 operative, still clutching his shin.

"I'm, Specialist Helix-2-02, Agent Scusa, Lance Corporal," Scusa said between breaths. His breathing slowed, and he calmed down.

Albany patted Scusa on the shoulder, "Scusa, we're gonna get out of here in a couple of minutes. You have to pull yourself through this,"

"Got it, Albany," He responded, tying a bandage to his shin and slowly standing up, using the wall as a support. Albany wrapped Scusa's arm around his shoulder and the two began to move down the hallway.

The group slowly moved down the hallway, Scusa's injury was preventing them from moving as fast as Stone would've liked, and internally he was getting anxious. Albany had his pistol drawn, and Stone followed from the rear to watch their back. They came upon the intersection in the Office Sector.

Stone raised his radio to his mouth. "Bowman, we're almost out, what's your situation?"

"Jesus Christ, get your men out of there. We're crumbling over here and we need to exfil now!" She yelled over the loud bangs of gunfire.

"Got it, Stone out," He said quickly as he stuffed the radio back into his pocket.

He turned to Albany and Scusa, "We've got to pick up the pace, our window is closing."

"Tell them they've got to hold out, we can't go any faster," Albany said angrily.

"It's no good, Captain. I'm no medic, and my shite tourniquet isn't holding. Leave me here, I'll cover your retreat," Scusa said, signalling for Albany to stop walking and set him down.

"Are you sure? We can still make it," Albany said, his voice tensing up.

"You won't make it in time, I'll stay behind. Go, Captain," Scusa said, out of breath.

"We're not leaving anybody behind, Scusa," Stone said angrily, taking Scusa's other arm and helping him to move down the hall.

As they neared the exit, they could hear a storm of gunshots trading sides. Bowman was yelling something or other, but Stone couldn't hear what it was. They rounded a corner and saw a collection of soldiers defending the entrance.

Bowman turned to them, "Christ, there you are," she said as she raised her radio to her mouth, "All units, we're pulling out. Objective has been secured."

In clusters, agents began to exit the facility. Stone and Albany found themselves back in the freezing forest, and they followed a group of soldiers to Rally Point Bravo.

All of the agents ran through the forest as fast as they could, gasping for breath as they broke through the treeline, with several Foundation helicopters there to meet them. Through the blinding lights of the helicopters, Stone could see Mr. Magenta waving at him. Albany and Stone helped Scusa trudge through the snow and into the helicopter.

Stone and Albany stepped up into the cabin, tracking in snow. Stone lifted Scusa into the cabin and set him down in a seat, "Thank you so much, Captain, you saved my life," He said, forcefully shaking Stone's hand and exhaling loudly.

"It's quite alright, now let's get you medical attention," He said as he flagged a medic in the corner of the helicopter to come treat Scusa.

Dallas pulled the large helicopter door shut and the cabin was bathed in a crimson light. In the corner, Mr. Magenta and Dallas sat. Dallas sat with his rifle between his legs, standing it up and leaning his head on the butt of the rifle while the Iota-10 agent sat with his back on the cold wall. Stone peered at the two, talking in a hushed tone, and for the first time, Stone saw Mr. Magenta smile. The Captain looked around the cabin at the tired and wounded soldiers, some of them were holding their heads in their hands. Others were looking out of the small viewports, leaning their heads against the cold metal.

Stone stood up and shuffled his way to the pair in the corner, being careful to not disturb other agents.

"So, you're the real deal, huh," Stone said, sitting next to Dallas and lowering his voice.

"I would tell you, but unfortunately that information is classified Level CLAID-4," Magenta said, crossing his arms and peering out of the window.

"So you are the real deal," Stone said, chuckling slightly.

"I'm not saying anything, you can think whatever you want, Captain Stone," Magenta said, smirking.

"I'll keep it in mind. Well, Magenta, we have a long flight back to 112, I suggest catching some sleep like Dallas," Stone said. As he said that, Dallas let out a low groan.

"I'll take you up on your recommendation," Magenta said, relaxing his arms and compacting his body to fit further into the corner.

Stone yawned, exhausted from their assault. He unstrapped his helmet and took off his balaclava. He scratched his stubbled chin and attempted to fix his muddled greying hair. He crossed his arms and sat back in his seat, placing his helmet in his lap and he lazily tossed his balaclava into it.

Stone closed his eyes and fell asleep to the sound of the groaning cabin.



The helicopter soared over the rolling hills through the starry night sky. Mr. Magenta sat awake in the cabin, groggily stretching out and accidentally tapping an agent's knee with his outstretched foot, the operative stirred for a few seconds and turned away. Magenta's vision adjusted to the dark light, and the lights in the cabin had gone out, with the moonlight outside as the only light source. Magenta felt a sudden shift in the cabin, and the helicopter came to a stop. Magenta grabbed a fluffy coat that hung in the cabin and quickly put it on.

He peeked out of the viewport and saw large metal doors, with pulsating yellow lights. A man in dark grey air traffic control gear walked towards the door and pulled it open quietly.

"If you'll come with me, agent," The Controller said.

"Sure," Magenta said.

He stood up and turned back to look at Dallas and Stone, and he smiled.

The lone agent lept down and landed on the concrete, and the helicopter took off, towards the Deployment Site.

Mr. Magenta looked around at the dark platform. There were two anti-air turrets on large platforms jutting off of the main one with a crew of agents surrounding them. The snow had begun to fall faster, and a storm began to roll in.

"Welcome back to Secure Area-02, agent," The Controller yelled over the rushing wind.

"Glad to be back. I'm assuming Command wants a debrief," Magenta said, cracking his neck.

"That's affirm, head down to Sub-Level 4, Sector C. And you can call me Müller, if you want," the Controller said, gesturing to the large doors.

The Iota-10 agent and Agent Müller moved to the large doors. Müller pressed a large yellow button on the side of the wall, and the flashing red lights slowly faded out. The large doors opened, revealing an elevator lit with warm yellow lights, and they stepped in.

The agent inserted a gold key into the wall, and a panel of buttons appeared. He pressed the button labelled 'Sub-Level 4' and the panel closed. The familiar elevator music began to rise in volume, filling the silence with generic jazz music.

"Don't get too comfortable, sir, there's another mission ready for you in three weeks time," Müller said, turning to face Magenta.

"There's always another mission. What is it this time?" The Iota-10 agent stated, exhaustion filling his voice.

"I'm afraid that's above my clearance, agent,"

"Doesn't everyone here need Clearance Level 4? How do you not know?"

"It's classified Level 5, sir. This is a big one. Comes directly from the Department Head of Pursuit and Suppression, O5-9," Müller said quietly.

"That certainly is a surprise, but a welcome one to be sure," Magenta said.

The elevator stopped, and an artificial voice emanated from a speaker above the panel, "Sub-Level 4"

"This is as far as I can go, sir. Swing by Level 2, Sector A sometime to come properly meet the flyboys," Müller said, outstretching his hand to Magenta.

Magenta grabbed Müller's hand and shook it firmly, "I'll come around tomorrow, about noon," Magenta said, smiling, "See you around sometime Müller," Magenta said as he stepped out of the elevator, facing Müller.

The elevator doors slowly closed, and Agent Magenta snapped his expression from a happy smile to a dim frown. He turned to face the corridor that was bathed in the dim blue lights on the ceiling. He walked down the hallway, with the echoing sound of his footsteps being the only noise in the entire sector. He turned at an intersection and found two agents from Mobile Task Force Alpha-1 standing in front of a door.

Upon seeing him, the two operatives stepped aside and unlocked the bulky metal door. Magenta peered in and saw darkness. He shifted his eyes between the two agents and stepped inside, and the operatives closed the door behind him. A loud buzzing emanated from a speaker above the door, and the lights slowly turned on. In front of him was a decently-sized room, with nothing but a flimsy card table and two chairs.

Sitting in the opposite chair, a man dressed in a well-tailored sage-coloured suit gestured for him to sit down. Magenta peered at his face and physical structure. He had a soft face, with kind blue eyes. He looked like a shorter man, and on his chest, he sported several military awards that shone in the light.

Magenta gingerly pulled the chair out and sat down.

The man leaned forward to look at him before finally speaking, "Welcome back, Agent Hollender."

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