Red vs. Blue Season 19
Chapter 1: Investigation Aria
Under the cover of the deadly cold night, a sniper eyed a small compound opposite to the rooftop she was on. She adjusted the thermal blanket atop her that acted to trap the heat but also camouflage on the thick surface of the snow. She blew a strand of her light blonde hair to the side, and with annoyance she noticed her breath fog up the scope on her rifle. After wiping it, her yellow eyes studied every little inch of the scope to make sure it was clean. With a satisfied job, she turned her attention back to the base. "I don't know what you two plan on doing exactly, but you best do it fast. The leader of this compound will be leaving in approximately twenty minutes."
"Don't worry Chloe," said the young assassin Ken as he hid in a bush. "We will be going home by that time."
"Count on it," Carolina joked as she shadowed two guards. When they stopped their patrol, she quietly approached them and smashed their heads together. They were out cold. Carolina was quick but careful to hide their bodies. Ken left the bush upon seeing one guard walk past him. He slowly crouch walked behind him keeping his footstep noises to a minimum. To the sudden surprise of the guard, Ken kicked him in the back of the left knee and held his mouth and nose into a tight grip. Having been restricted the access to air, the guard slowly found his consciousness slipping away. Ken was quick to move the guard's limp body into the bush and jumped to tail his next few targets.
Ken activated his right gauntlet and with a whisper called upon his ally. "Church, I need you here bud."
"Yeah, what is it?"
"How many can you detect inside the building?"
"Hold up," he quickly transferred over to the cameras on the premises and studied the very formal office like building. Huh, that's not good. He appeared by Ken's side again. "You are not gonna like this one."
"Lay it on me chief."
"I would say a good twenty guards inside that two story office building. All of them are carrying assault rifles."
"So," Carolina interrupted. "We go in guns blazing then?"
"Oh no," Chloe protested. "We are not going Rambo style here, you hear me?"
"Yes mom," Church scoffed in a lazy and exaggerated voice. Chloe let out an annoyed sigh. "Look, I don't like the idea of having a base full of goons chasing after us merrily all throughout the night. I would like to get some peaceful sleep tonight after this, thank you very much."
"I gotta agree with her on this one Church," said Ken. "I'm not exactly too fond of the idea of having guys chase after me either."
"Oh I'm sure your tone would be different if we threw a few girls into the mix eh?" Church joked earning a sly grin from the young assassin. Carolina sighed with some disgust. Boys, she thought knocking out another bunch of guards and quickly hiding them. Chloe steered their conversation back on track. "Anyways, just do this quietly. The element of surprise is far more beneficial to us than loud obnoxious noises and explosions."
"And here I was hoping I could finally make explosions large enough to make Bay have the wet dreams of his life," Church replied disappearing back to Carolina. Ken avoided those he could, but was not afraid to take care of any obstacle in his way through any means necessary, even if that meant a painful death for his targets. He caught up to the ex-Freelancer who signalled for him to quickly peek into the room. The area was empty. "Good pick for an entry."
"That compliment still won't get you out of that drink you owe me from before," Carolina boasted with a wide grin under the helmet. Church appeared beside her with his arms crossed and tapped one foot to what may very well be the ground to him. "And like I said before, no more drinking for you sis."
"I keep it in moderation now, so it's all good."
"Except when the urges become too great," Church leaned forward with both his hands on his hips. "We both know what a wreck you become at times like those."
"Guys, while this conversation is enlightening and I get to learn some great information for leverage- I mean to help with later, we really need to get this shit done and over with," Ken spoke pointing to the window. He placed a small glass cutter by the window lock and opened a circular access for his arm. He reached inside and unlocked the window. "There we go, ladies first."
"How sweet, except I'm no lady," Carolina mused playfully punching him on the arm. The two jumped through at the same time and got their bearings straight on enemy positions. Carolina motioned for Ken to move to the next room and said. "You take half and I take the other half?"
"Deal," and before anyone could create a cause for alarm, the building was being cleared out one enemy at a time. It was only after a few had disappeared, that some became alarmed and roamed the floors more frequently. This became both an advantage and a disadvantage to the two depending on their positions. Ken jumped out to drag one to the shadows, before he could fire his gun to alert the others, Ken smashed the man's nose and sent his consciousness dreaming. Uh-oh, that was a tad bit too loud. Hopefully the others don't notice.
"It came from somewhere here, I'm sure of it!" an enemy soldier came running into the room with a few others. Ken's shoulders dropped as his eyebrows twitched with frustration. Oh fuck my life. He looked towards Carolina who had the geographical advantage. She made use of it alongside her camouflage unit. As she stood behind the group, she quickly activated the speed module and knocked them all unconscious. "Jeez Ken, keep this up and I will start asking for compensation."
The two rushed up to the second floor and easily cleared it out without alerting their target inside the main office. Ken stretched his neck and shook his legs. "Time for the final boss."
"You have been playing too many video games again, haven't you?" Chloe inquired hearing his words. Ken walked forward to the door and stared through the keyhole. How good it is that some things from the past don't die out so easily. Keyhole, you are my savior. He motioned for Carolina to be in position. She stood behind him ready to burst the door open with her pistol drawn. As soon as he rolled out of the way, she kicked the doors and pointed her pistol up at the target. "Try anything and you are dead!"
"Yeah, deader than dead," Ken added only to realize how confusing his words sounded. "Wait, what's deader than being dead?"
"Not the time," Carolina muttered as Ken extended his right wrist blade. "Oh right, my bad."
He picked up the man of rather plump figure by his collar and threw him down to the ground. Ken stepped onto his prisoner's neck and said. "Let's lay some ground rules. You talk when we want you to talk. Do what we want you to do. Try anything else and you get to be happily acquainted with my little friend called 'Mr. Wrist Blade' of righteous pain and glory. Is that clear?"
The compound leader nodded his head while struggling to breath with his mouth. Ken smiled courteously and lifted him up so that he was sitting. "Good man, let's get started."
"W- What do you want to know?"
"I only want one thing, where is your leader Aria Langford?"
His face went pale at hearing the name. "I um…I don't know."
"You are a terrible liar," Ken noticed the man's sudden eye movements, his quick composure change at the mere mention of the name and the small sweat build up. He leaned forward nearly begging for his life. "Please, if they find out I told you something about her, they will kill me!"
Ken rested the tip of his wrist blade against the man's jugular. "You aren't exactly in a different position here either. Talk or die, there is no room for negotiation."
The man remained silent while contemplating his fate. Ken held his face up by his hair and explained. "Look Mr. Bigshot, you can tell us the info and escape this town. Leave before they ever find you. You will be doing some good and you can still survive this, better yet leave Earth altogether."
"Where am I supposed to go?"
"Beats me, you brought yourself into this position to begin with, your choices, your consequences. Now talk!"
Carolina kept watch outside and noticed some guards rattled. She called out to the young assassin and motioned for him to hurry it up. Ken felt the pressure, and with it his patience disappearing. "Alright, let's do this the hard way."
He lifted up the terrorist leader and slammed his front on the desk. He twisted the man's arm behind his back uncomfortably and threatened with a little pressure. "Where is she?!"
"Okay, I will talk!"
Ken let the arm go, but still held the man down. "Good choice, I guess you are the first I have come across in a long while to make a sensible choice in these situations. So. Info. Out, right now."
"Sh- She will be making an inspection visit to one of the arms factory out in Texas. You can find the details for it in the top drawer of my desk."
Ken jerked his head for Carolina to verify his words. She found a file filled with an explanation of the meeting. All the details they needed were in there. Ken nearly cracked into a victorious smile right then and there, but knew the hardest part came now, and that was make to it back home safely. He knocked the plump commander out and eyed the gathering forces outside of the building. "So much for a smooth exit."
Chloe looked at the numbers and knew she could only pick of so few before being spotted. She could not risk that, the best she could do right now was to relay the information about how heavily the soldiers were armed and their positions in relation to the building. Ken and Carolina ran up to the roof. She looked at Church and wrapped her arm around Ken's waist. He knew she was up to something so he held on tightly to her warrior's build. "Do it Church."
"One boost coming right up," Church answered as they flew up into the air. Those at the bottom took notice, but the two escapees were already too far away for them to catch on foot. Instead they opened fire. The alarms triggered alerting the whole base. Ken wore a fatigued expression. "I know I said I didn't want guys chasing after me, but now that it is happing, it feels far worse than I imagined."
"Yeah, yeah, total sausage fest," agreed Church. "Now let's just focus on that daring escape."
"Exit via the north gate, it's the least guarded place right now," Chloe scoped out the route from the exit to their getaway vehicle. Ken led the way with some assistance from Church feeding them real time information of the changing situation. The two finally exit through the gate with guards hot on their tails. Chloe retreated from her spot and prepped the vehicle for launch. Ken quickly rushed into the front seat, and Carolina jumped into the back. He looked behind them and in a panic and shouted to Chloe. "What are you waiting for Chloe, an invitation? It's time to go!"
Annoyed at his tone, she shifted gears and drove straight forward. Thanks to the lessened traffic, it was easier for her to move around on the road, and maintain masterful control of the car at the same time. They looked back once creating a fair bit of distance between the compound and the car. Carolina blurted a relaxed laughter. "Guess that's another base in the victory book?"
"That it sure is, and what a beauty it was," Church answered dryly before beginning to go through the information they retrieved. "We will need to talk to Siris about this one. We can't expect to go into another state on our own."
"No, he is right!" Chloe firmly stated. "We have been going lone wolf for too long. Siris needs to know about what we have been up to. Otherwise we are no better than the very politicians who are trying to take away our funding that we tend to complain about."
Chloe made a hard right before nearing the city's exit. "Transparency is important. I have let it go up till now, but no more."
"Jeez relax Chloe," Ken rubbed her shoulder causing her to blush a little, but her position was strong on this issue. "I will relax when you start talking to Siris again, and especially about things related to Cradle of Hope. That is why ATSG was formed after all."
Ken removed his hands and held them up in surrender. "Okay, fine. The next opportunity I get to discuss the operation with him, I will do it in a heartbeat."
They pulled up to the bunker. As the two exited the vehicle, Chloe went to park it in their hidden parking garage. She walked back to the entrance and found them waiting for her. Ken flipped open the door and looked up with a rather worried expression. "So who wants to bet that Siris will rip us all a new one?"
"I think it will only happen to you," Chloe said with her arms crossed. Carolina felt rather smug as well. "Yeah, this was all your idea after all."
"Thanks for the support there, go team go…yay..."
The three descended into the underground base and heard concerned noises coming through from the main operations room. Ken looked inside the area where Siris sat with his forehead in his hands. "Look, I kn-"
"No you don't. Your group has been producing less than stellar results. What makes you think we will consider cancelling this budget cut then?" spoke a deep, hoarse and commanding voice. Siris kept his head down quickly feeling his patience running out. No wonder I hate dealing with these management politics. "We gathered more data in the past few weeks than we ever have since our inception."
"Yet the costs associated with each operation have increased. We are not made of infinite money. Don't forget that your organization as well as your paycheck comes thanks to the tax payers. If you can't use that money efficiently, then we will have to take it away."
Ken leaned in close to Chloe and whispered. "So more budget cuts?"
"Unfortunately, yes. They have been more recent."
"So, still want me to go and talk to him right away?" Ken inquired a little shaken by the heavy atmosphere around his mentor. Chloe gave a sympathetic smile. "Maybe, preferably yes. But it's not my neck on the line here, so you do what you think is best."
His two compatriots left him alone to observe the elder man slowly pulling out his own hair. "Sir, please consider once again. We can do more good if we are allowed to retain our budget. Any more budget cuts and we may be forced to down scale, and maybe even shut down the ATSG."
"If that means finding a more efficient solution," said the shadowy figure on the screen. "Then I will happily support this choice."
The screen went black and Siris punched the desk in anger. Ken stood by the holographic table leaning forward deep in thought. Siris was quick to notice the young assassin's presence. He looked back without any words. Ken crossed his arms and said. "That sounded like it went well."
"I don't need such sarcasm right now Ken. It's rare for you to talk to me now days, what did you want?"
"I wanted to discuss a potential mission."
"So you felt like doing things by the book this time around."
Ken looked surprised as Siris gave him a knowing look. "Remember Ken, not much escapes my notice down here. What is this mission about?"
"We need some financial backing," Ken played with his hands as a sign of restraint of his abrasive tone behind his back. Even now his anger towards Siris had yet to die down for the lie he had fabricated this whole time. "There is a mission in the state of Texas that we want to tackle."
"Obviously the answer is no."
"Would your tone still remain the same if I said this mission was to apprehend Aria?"
Siris suddenly stopped what he was doing to look back at his young student. "Okay, I'm listening."
Ken motioned a folder out of his bag. "All the details of her visit to one of their weapons factory can be found in there. The important bits are that of her schedule. If things go as they plan to, it grants us an opportunity to capture her."
Siris let out a rather surprised noise. "Hmm, this mission isn't something easy to fund, you realize that right? The travel costs alone would eat up this month's budget quite a bit."
"But the rewards outweigh the risks."
"And what if you don't succeed?"
"I didn't realize you grew to be such a pessimist," Ken rebutted earning a fatigued look. Siris shook his head and crossed his arms. "Internal politics can really wear a person out to the point of fear. Anymore failures on our part and we come one step closer to the chopping block."
"Even in failure there is always an opportunity," Ken said firmly reminding Siris. "This was what you taught me."
"Yes, I did. But politicians and government personnel don't see things like this. Instead they only see the bottom line and reports full of numbers. We don't only exist to serve and protect clearly, unfortunately we have to please these government schmucks as well."
"Let me take Chloe and Carolina with me and we will make sure to get something good back here."
Siris shook his head from side to side throwing the report in front of Ken. "You are asking for a lot. But…get your team ready."
Ken turned to leave, but was abruptly stopped by Siris calling out to him.
"Ken, I better not regret this decision you hear?" Siris answered with a mumbled breath. Ken knew the pressure Siris was under, not just from the government or the ATSG, but from him as well to try and repair their relationship. While their working relationship did not suffer, their interactions outside of work lessened dramatically to the point they felt like simple acquaintances to one another now rather than friends. Siris bit his lower lip and slowly closed his eyes. Why is asking for forgiveness so bloody difficult? Just do it already Siris!
Aria felt her muscles flex and her back tone out as she lifted herself up on the monkey bar. Sweat dripped down her neck and sent a shiver of chills as it would touch her more sensitive areas. She grunted at the bout of strength she used to once again lift herself up, and breathed out gently when slowly going back down. She heard the sounds of a sliding door open behind her in their main base of operations.
Adrian entered the room to see the mess she had made while working out. "I see you are sparing no effort in building yourself again."
He moved to clear out a few weights from the floor. She stepped back down onto the ground and chugged down a water bottle. She set it down hard and wiped her forehead. "I prefer to be in shape. Why are you here Adrian?"
"The nuclear cases have been all transported here safe and sound. We have everything we need to build them now."
Aria threw the towel over her shoulder and left the gym. She entered her room to change out into her uniform and followed Adrian down the well lit hallways. She looked at the various other rooms where engineers, scientists, mechanics and people from all different walks of life worked. It still amazed her to this day to the different type of people willing to believe in their cause. She was confident that even if someone were to stand in their way, they won't just give up, and every one of their members would choose to go down fighting.
Adrian entered in the access codes to a panel by his right. He made way for Aria to enter first as she saw a protective suit hanging up by the left side of the room. Adrian put on one to the right side of the room and commanded for her to do the same. Ready to enter, the two proceeded inside the secure area where the nuclear materials were being kept. Adrian stopped to look at all eight cases and explained. "The scientists have checked them all. They are all good and usable right away. We simply need to process and weaponize them."
Aria smothered her hand on the case to the farthest from the entrance and smiled. We have waited for so long to begin our revolution, and you will help us. She stood up and unlocked the top case. The two halves of the casing slid open and she stared at the nuclear core stored inside. A wide grin plastered itself on her face. She moved to another box and found a uranium core inside, enough to create nuclear fuel for at least ten of what they planned to create. "With this, if there is such a thing as god, then even they would bow to us."
"Rather ironic though is it not?" Adrian caught her glimpse. "We are an organization that started out to protect the environment, and now we threaten it with these machinations of deranged minds from the past."
She looked back down to the uranium ore and said. "Sometimes compromises must be made. The planet will be scarred, but as long as it is given time to heal, it will recover. That means that the humans will be forced to keep themselves in check. If anything, this display of nuclear threat will only force those outside of Earth to change their ways. We will make them change. If humans want to survive as a species for a long time to come, then they must change."
"Corruption, greed, and the other vices of human existence," Adrian scoffed to which Aria agreed. "The very things that distort the meaning in our existence, and because of this there are always events in human history to come in this form…contradictorily it gives rise to conflict that was in the first place designed to help promote peace and protection."
"Sacrifices are necessary," Aria argued glancing towards Adrian. "You and my parents taught me this. Whenever something grand is to happen that changes the very fundamentals of society, sacrifices are bound to occur. Humans after all have never moved forward without some conflict occurring. Violence it seems is the most impactful teacher there is for people to learn their lesson as a species."
"Then shall I suggest creating a few more unforeseen sacrifices?"
"Meaning launch them without any warning?"
"Yes," Adrian slyly grinned rubbing his hands together. Aria glared at his weasel form and could already foresee a conflict arising in their differing belief on these matters. "A warning comes first. There will be no compromises on this. People must be given one last chance to change their ways."
"Humans never learn."
"Just like you?"
"What do you mean?"
"I know about how you encouraged the operation to send in Creed to ward off the ATSG," Aria's voice grew heavy. "I know all about your hate for his presence in the organization, and in such a high position to boot. Do not forget that I brought him here because he deeply believed in our cause. He was also a precious mentor to me."
"And you cannot forget that you are the leader, so stop acting on these feelings Aria," Adrian scolded quickly evening out their grounds of a power struggle. None the less Aria still maintained a stronger grip over Adrian and his actions. "I know how to behave like a leader. I know how to care for our troops. The warning comes first, if they fail to respond appropriately, then we use these."
She walked to the communication panel near the exit door and called in the scientific team. As the team's leader entered behind the rest, he was dragged to the side by Aria. "Make sure that you can weaponize these cores and uranium ores in the given time frame. The plan will not tolerate delays."
"Yes ma'am," the scientist answered with a proud outstretched back. With no time to waste, he got to work coordinating his team to begin the refinement process of the uranium ore into nuclear fuel. He began to coordinate with various other departments to ensure the production of any additional materials required. Aria left with Adrian knowing that the job was in trusted hands.
Aria exited the cool confines of the nuclear storage rooms and into the hallway. She greeted several soldiers along the way while making small talk with a few. Adrian was still surprised by her ability to connect with the soldiers so easily. They have had other great leaders in their organization, but none have been as good at inspiring loyalty as her, because she herself was not afraid of stepping in the grunt's shoes. Everyone knew that she was willing to get her hands dirty like the rest of them to do what was necessary. They also understood how much burden she was happy to carry on her shoulders to succeed. This was more than enough to guarantee their loyalty and care for it created a sense of family between the groups.
Aria stopped in her tracks to look back at Adrian. "About what I asked for when I first awoke. Have you found him yet?"
"Your brother is still missing," said the elder man. "I would not hold out much hope for him if I were you. You have other things to worry about."
"I can handle these tasks, but my only remaining family is still important to me," Aria lowered her gaze as she gritted her teeth. "Plus, things became like this because of our parents. Were it not for their last will, the two of us would still be together. He would have been standing where he truly belongs, by my side leading this organization."
"But reality speaks a different tune."
Aria reluctantly agreed, but was insistent on continuing their efforts. "Keep looking. The first bit of information that comes through, immediately deliver it to me."
"Understood," Adrian replied watching her turn her curvy figure and walk away. He clenched his fists and cursed under his breath. Blasted siblings! I don't care about your brother. Just do your job of reforming this world. Everything else can go to hell.
A/N: That was a long chapter eh?
So out of curiosity, based on what we have here so far, what do you think will happen in this story?
Constructive feedback is appreciated!
Thank you so much for taking the time to read, your support is always appreciated :).