Chapter 11: Bring down the Arms

It had been two weeks. In this time passed, the ATSG began to feel brittle from the lack of activity. But it seems as if they had finally come upon new hope. The lack of information was beginning to bother many, especially Siris who had the responsibility of the whole organization on his shoulders as well as accountability to his higher ups. Information had recently popped up on their radar in the form of a tip. Siris studied the information. It was valuable, but originating from an unreliable source. Though they could not afford to let this opportunity to pass by.

He had a plan, but the rest were unconvinced by the authenticity behind information. He encouraged them all, and soon they rallied together. Siris handed out several data pads with the mission details. Ken studied the report with an amused hum. "So we are to hit up a weapons factory that is responsible for providing Cradle of Hope with its weaponry, as well as act as a source of income. Isn't this job more or less for our heavy hitting squads? I'm more of a stealth kind of guy."

"I need people I implicitly trust on this one," Siris noted as he pointed to the financial figures coming out of this factory. "If we can hit them where it hurts financially, we will be slowing them down and most certainly deterring their larger scaled operations."

"I'm in," Chloe stepped forward and nudged Ken on the arms. "You know that this is the best course of action."

With a sigh he looked up to his mentor. "Who will be leading this mission?"

"You will."

Ken nearly choked on his own spit and jumped back in surprise. "M- Me? You know I have never led a mission of this nature before."

"There is a first time for everything Ken," Siris rested a hand on his student's shoulder and gave a reassuring smile. "I trust you. Remember, experience makes the master, not just the knowledge alone."

The rest looked at him as they would onto a leader. He felt as if his body was shrinking under their stares. He rubbed his hands together and his body fidgeted from the attention. "Okay, I guess worst comes to worst, we wing it."

"No room for improvisation here dude," Church answered as he appeared beside Carolina. She agreed stating. "If this mission is really as important as the information makes it out to be, then we must succeed."

"Great, no pressure then," Ken remarked in a sardonic voice. "Thanks for being considerate guys, real team players."

Siris let out a hearty laugh, one he hadn't had in a long while. "You will be fine, you always are."

"Plus with me to cover your ass, we will make this work," Chloe bumped his back with her fist. He smirked under his breath and looked up with a renewed confidence. "Well if Chloe says so, then I guess we will have no choice but to make it work."

Siris thanked Ken for taking on this mission. "There is a van waiting outside of the bunker. Take your team and get ready ASAP, make sure the best negotiator is the one driving. Go in, plant the C4 charges and get out. Blow the factory to Kingdom Kong and call it a day."

"I like the sound of that," Carolina responded with the crack of her fists. The idea of bringing down a whole factory was already getting her excited. The gang dispersed to retrieve their weapons and ammo. They all did a thorough checkup of their equipment and one by one exited the bunker. Outside in the cold early morning, where the sky was tinted in a hue of orange and blue, there was a white van ready for departure. One of the team members opened the back doors and flipped them to the sides. They waited for everyone to board one by one. The team was certainly not large, but enough to be considered a decent demolition squad. The team member closed the doors and sat in the driver's seat. "Okay everyone, here we go."

"Is the data transfer complete?" Creed questioned as he stood monitoring the security cameras feedback. The individual behind him was hesitant to say anything. His hands shook behind his back. "Um…about that sir. We started to copy the data over last night but it seems we have run into a…"

"Technical problem?" Creed turned to the man who retreated in fear of the shadow encompassing over his whole body. The subordinate nodded his head but kept their eyes on the ground. Creed turned back to the monitors. To think that it had to be today of all days. He squinted his eyes at the server room and ordered for two guards to be stationed at the entrance. "No matter, we must proceed with the plan as stated. They will come here and when they do, we must eliminate them."

"How do you know that this will be the factory they arrive at sir?"

"Because I have a very educated guess I can make," Creed smirked as he inspected the entrance to the factory and patiently waited. "Tell everyone to be ready for potential resistance today. Also post guards by the server room."

The ATSG van turned a street corner and the driver saw the factory now in sight. He knocked to the back compartment housing the rest. "Get ready, I see the factory."

"No turning back now," Chloe stretched her neck and reloaded her sniper rifle. Ken playfully bumped shoulders with her. "There was no turning back ever, right?"

"Heh, right."

The van came to a halt as the driver negotiated an entrance onto the factory grounds. The security gates opened, the driver slowly drove inside doing his best to act natural and avert suspicion. He was guided into a docking bay to release the good into. As soon as the van came to a stop, and the engine turned off, Ken worked past everyone to the back doors and activated his invisibility cloak. The driver departed and opened the back doors. He then proceeded to talk to the factory workers, slowly taking them into another area and gave Ken the open window of opportunity he needed.

Ken walked to the nearest emergency alarm trigger and with discretion he pushed down on the 'T' shaped button. The bell shrieked loudly warning the workers to retreat. The guards looked around overcome by the sudden influx of bodies in large numbers. Creed looked at the loading area and noticed several people exiting the van. "They are here. This is their doing. Alert the rest of the guards, make sure not one leaves here alive or else I will have their heads."

Many of the van's occupants knocked out the guards amidst this panic and donned their armor to better blend in with their environment. But this was of no use against Creed as he eyed their actions very carefully. The General left the security room to his subordinate's command. With heavy steps he approached one of the guards who acted natural and nodded their head towards the superior officer. Creed stopped in front of the guard towering over him and wrapped his hand around the tiny man's neck.

The guard panicked, the gig was up and he was exposed. Creed lifted him in the air and slammed his back against the wall. As the ATSG member tried to resist, he found a strong fist smash the side of his skull hard against the metal wall. Both heard an audible crack, the ATSG man felt something break and ache within his head. Creed inflicted the final blow with a swift and a bloody punch to the eyes which punctured under the pressure.

The other ATSG members gathered outside of the van to receive instructions. Their meeting was quickly interrupted however as Chloe pointed to the approaching Creed who held their deceased comrade. He threw the body down towards them and many gasped in horror at seeing the grotesque and misshaped eyeballs. Creed fixated his stare on Carolina who shifted uncomfortably in her spot. "I still owe you for what you did to me before soldier girl."

The others lifted their weapons and opened fire. He activated the jets on his back and glided forwards. Many bullets danced past him, but his shield managed to block those on direct trajectory. Creed was quick on the uptake. He kicked one in the kneecap, dismantling it from their leg and threw him up towards a few to his right. He blocked a kick from the left and smashed the leg's bone in half. The attacker dropped on the floor screaming in agony. But Creed made quick work of the screamer with a heavy stomp to the skull. As the others reloaded, he took the opportunity to disarm several and kill them. Their numbers were quickly dwindling and they could not take on anymore casualties.

Ken threw down a grenade towards the General and ordered for the team to spread out. Carolina and Chloe remained behind to keep the General at bay. He looked back worriedly but Chloe gave him a thumb up. "We can handle it. You go on Ken. You know the importance of the mission."

"Unfortunately," he replied motioning for the others to plant the bombs in their designated areas. "Be safe."

"Yeah, the two of us will be more than enough to handle a big lug like you," Carolina remarked with the stretch of her neck. Creed slowly stood up recovering from the grenade and sneered towards the cyan armored soldier. "Arrogance is an unbecoming trait of people. It is a trait that plagues us and if not fixed, it marks the undoing of that individual, soldier girl."

Chloe quickly prepared her sniper rifle and fired at his head. But the bullet simply deflected and her attempt ended in her defeat. He snatched the sniper rifle, dismantled its various components and broke both her arms. The sharp sting originating from her arms caused her to lash out in extreme pain, and she was left squirming on the ground grovelling in her own spit. Just before he could deliver the finishing blow, he was quickly distracted by Carolina's attempt at scathing his armor with her assault rifle.

"You people never learn," Creed declared moving in closer and disarming her of the rifle. With ease he broke the rifle into little pieces. As Carolina reached for her pistol, he took her limber arm in a tight grip and threw the pistol away. Creed tripped her legs and punched her in the ribs. She could feel them loosening and her lungs desperate for air.

Ken walked in the shadows and the guards stationed around his sector remained ignorant. That's it. You all continue to be minimum wage clueless minions. He came across a curious room that sheltered the factory's in-house server. I smell an information extraction opportunity, that and the fact that somebody let out a nasty fart. He looked at the closest guard to him who very poorly pretended to play it off onto another guard. I know I make fun of you guys and all but sometimes you all make it just so easy to justify it.

Ken walked towards the entrance and noticed the two guards at the doorway. He prepared his wrist blades and stabbed one through the bottom of his mouth. The other acted quickly looking around, he was puzzled. Thin air could not have possibly killed this man, but in a sense it did as the guard soon found out. Ken stabbed the blade through the second guard's jugular and quietly set him down onto the ground. He dragged the two bodies inside and out of sight without spilling much blood. Ken looked around for the main console and contacted his allies. "So anyone up for playing bodyguard for a while? I think I may have found something good here."

"Bodyguard? What are you doing Ken? We have a simple mission to attend to!" one of the ATSG members asked in a concerned voice. The apprehension was however justified as Ken explained what he was up to. The ATSG members all quickly began to grow apprehensive of this side mission. But one finally volunteered upon finishing with their sector. "I'll be there, until then try to keep your head down fearless leader."

"You know me," Ken smirked with a chuckle. "I'm always about stealth, go in quietly and get out fast."

"I'm sure you are like that with the ladies."

"If only I had a love life to speak of, if only," Ken replied with a slightly disheartened voice. He inserted the data disk and began to copy over the data. Thanks to the oversight of their techs, he managed to find a back door into far more valuable data than what they found previously. He accessed a personnel folder and whistled with a tune of victory. The data regarding the leader of the organization was in there. This was more than anyone could have ever hoped for. But as he opened the data file, his mouth parted in shock. This is…Aria Langford? No, that's not possible.

He studied the picture with an intense stare. Could this be a setup? He asked of himself looking at her long, and silky black hair that extended down to her back. He gazed into her dark brown eyes and pondered. Why are you in their database? Everything about her matched what he knew. It really was her.

The remaining survivors of the group finished planting the charges. The support for Ken arrived shooting through the halls and setup a barricade to buy them some time. He took out his binoculars and noticed a small army of guards closing the distance. "Ken, I don't care if you have finished copying the data but we need to move our asses now!"

Ken looked speechless at the monitor. He gripped his hands together to keep them from shaking. The shock was getting to him and beginning to break him down mentally. This is not supposed to happen. But he was quickly snapped out of this strange trance. "Ah yeah, I am…I am coming."

The rest of the ATSG soldiers joined up with Ken and prepared to fight off the mini army. They opened fire gunning down several guards. Ken took out his pistol and shot three in the head with pin point accuracy. They remained behind cover until the enemy were downed. The room was cleared quickly through their superior team work and communication. Now they only had one task left, retreat to a safe distance before detonation. They all began the run back to the docking bay.

Creed blocked one of many punches Carolina threw. He discovered the arm he dislocated last time had become considerably weaker. It was a perfect opening and a weakness to exploit. He attacked her in the abs and then proceeded to elbow her in the face. Her head bounced around in her helmet leaving a few bruises on her cheeks. She found it increasingly difficult to keep up with him. How can this be? He has only one eye and yet I still have this much trouble?

"Church," she huffed stumbling back on her feet. "Pour all of the energy into the speed module."

"I don't think that's a good idea," he echoed hearing an irritated groan from his partner. "We don't have much choice here now do we Church? Just do it!"

"Jeez okay," he began the subroutine to divert the power additional power into the speed module. "Just don't come crying to me when this goes tits up."

"Duly noted," she powered up the speed module and ran to Creed's right side. She managed to land a punch to his side and kneed him in the abs. His armor however persisted against her physical attacks. She moved in from the left side but was quickly discouraged. He held her in a firm grip by her shoulder and forced her onto the ground. Carolina kicked him in the visor and jumped up. She activated her jets and landed behind him. Without rest she threw a stream of punches, each carrying more force than the one before.

Creed looked back from his left eye and held both her arms in place. He fell back and crushed her beneath his body onto the ground. A large scream alerted Ken who approached the area with the rest. Ken bent down and motioned for his allies to stay put. He activated his invisibility cloak and poked his head out. In his sight was a weakened Carolina who did her best to try and crawl away. But Creed was not willing to let his prey escape him. He lifted her up into the air with the intention of breaking her back. Ken looked to his comrades and motioned them via hand signals. They had a plan, and now they just had to execute it.

Clink! Clank!

Creed looked down to a small rolling canister that hit his feet. It was shaped like a grenade! A sudden burst of smoke spread through the room. They were smoke grenades creating the perfect shroud for Ken and his allies. Carolina elbowed Creed on the helmet and fell to the ground behind him upon his loosened grip. Creed activated his thermal vision only to observe several bodies invading the space. Many held up their guns to suppress the General in his spot as two came to pick up Carolina. Ken slid past Creed and studied Chloe's condition. "Come on Chloe, talk to me."

Her painful moans were more than enough to give him some hope. "You better keep on fighting that pain, you hear me Chloe?"

He picked her up in his arms and ran towards the van. The driver was all prepared. Creed immediately turned his attention to the van as soon as the gunfire stopped and the engine started. He ran out of the smoke and jumped onto the roof of the vehicle with a loud thud. The driver backed out only to feel the additional weight throw off the vehicle's balance. "We have an unwanted guest, someone deal with it!"

Ken kicked open the back doors and slowly leaned outside. One of the ATSG soldiers held him by his belt as Ken aimed a shotgun at Creed. The General reacted fast and rolled off the van only to come to a hard drop against the concrete road. He stood up and chased them, but his speed was of no match for the van. Ken sat back inside and exchanged his weapons for the detonator. He waved to the General and pressed hard on the button.

The bombs exploded with success weakening the structural integrity of the factory. The pillars collapsed onto the ground, with it came down the roof piling on the destruction along its way. The factory came down burning into the ground. Creed looked behind himself at the ruins and punched the gate. No one dared to disturb his thoughts right now as the damage the gate endured from his anger was an evident warning. "Get me the guards responsible for guarding the factory."

"M…Most of them are dead sir."

"Drag the ones still alive here!"

"To do what?"

"I won't sleep until I have their heads!" Creed answered as his eyes widened with rage. His subordinate excused himself not wishing to stay a moment longer beside the man. Creed reached out for the communication control on his armor and called the man who acted as an advisor of sorts for Cradle of Hope. "Adrian, we need to be more proactive in our approach from now on. We also need to speed up the plans."

"You sound disgruntled," the advisor's amused voice scarred Creed deeply reminding him of his failure. You knew that we would fail didn't you Adrian? Creed ignored the attempts by Adrian to goad him into another outburst. It was all in an attempt to prove how unfit Creed was for this job. Adrian unlike the others had never been one to support Creed's welcome into the organization. But he put up with it as that was the wish of the organization's leader. "We need to wake up the leader."

"So soon?" Adrian inquired rather interested at the sudden turn of events. Creed breathed heavily as he felt his confidence beginning to waver. "There isn't much time left. To achieve success she is important. We must wake her up."

A/N: Quite a longer chapter this time around. Also unlike the previous few, it is filled with action and some story tid-bits. I'm sure the more attentive readers will have figured something out that I don't directly state in this chapter, something important to the story and character.

How was that chapter? What do you think of this fanfic so far? Are you excited to see more of what is to come?

Constructive criticism/feedback is always welcomed.

Thank you for taking the time to read and support this story, I appreciate it!

~ Monty