"Clear!" Madison yelled before the breaching charge detonated, throwing the metal doors of there hinges as the team entered the hidden ADVENT lab. The dark skinned ranger Eliza was the first to enter as she scanned the place with her shotgun
Seconded to following her in was Dimitri as the bald Russian man held his lofty mag cannon. Next a thin face showed itself as the Iranian operative, Amir, entered the compound.
And then Madison entered, his GREMLIN hovering over his shoulder as his mutton chops did little to hide his grin before the last operative came in.
Robert Carter breathed a sigh of relief as the sharpshooter stepped over the burnt hole, his aged iPod was on his hip as he took off his earphones, putting his Gauss rifle on his back to take out his pistol. Robert was still relatively new to the team as he had only done about 5 missions with them, however they had quickly gotten acquainted and before long, they became an unstoppable force despite Robert only being a corporal.
"See! That's what I'm talking about! Explosives fix everything!" Madison said before the Texan laughed, Madison was known to be a slight pyromaniac
Dimitri smirked as he looked at the Texan, "Yeah sure cowboy... I won't forget that time with the Sectopod."
Madison's bearded face immediately turned red, "Hey! I keep telling you partner, that was an accident!"
"Quiet." Eliza whispered, the ranger was pretty much the leader of there small team, and it helped that she possessed the natural qualities. "The lab might not be abandoned like Intel suggested." Eliza turned her head to Robert and Madison. "You two, search the laboratories, find anything that might be of use to the eggheads back in the Avenger. Me, Dimitri, and Amir will go further down the hallway to find any hostiles."
Robert and Madison nodded, "Yes ma'am." the Texan said before he turned and grinned at Robert. "C'mon partner, they might have a stash of Twinkies."
The sharpshooter sighed, "What is it with you and Twinkies."
The two of them walked off into the next hallway.
Robert inspected the lab equipment, the sharpshooter deep in thought at what could have transpired here. Were there human's working here? Could they have possibly known that they were creating ways to kill of there race? Would they have even cared? The noise of something crinkling broke him away from his thoughts as he turned away from the tables. Madison of course was being Madison, as the Texan was stashing things inside of his pockets as his GREMLIN floated next to him.
"Hey Madison, you ever think about who worked here?"
Madison stopped what he was doing as he looked up at his friend before shrugging, "Uh, I don't know. Does it matter?"
"I mean, remember that time when we had to deal with civilians? They thought we were there to kill them for Christ sake. How much have the ADVENT brain washed them?"
The Texan merely scoffed, "Let them believe what they want for now, but I'm sure we'll find a way to expose the truth. And when that happens, I'll be laughing when those Civies beat down the ones that fed them bullshit for years and years."
"How do you think that'll happen?" Robert asked, the Texan merely chuckled.
"Easy, we'll show them the poster me and you were in. Remember that one?"
Robert smiled in remembrance, "Yeah... I remember. We both looked super fucking stupid..."
"Eeyup. And that was the beauty of-" Madison was interrupted as he tripped over something, the Texan clinging onto his foot as he yelled in pain and anger. Robert immediately ran by his side.
"I god damn tripped over somethin', who the hell just leaves shit lying around here!?"
The sharpshooter looked to the side to see a small metal canister on the ground next to Madison. Robert shook his head before he picked it up, "Great job, you literally-"
And then it sprayed something, directly on his face as the Xcom operative instinctively closed his eyes and sputtered. Quickly wiping off the chemical as he spat saliva out of his mouth.
Madison immediately stood up.
"Robert! Jesus, are you okay!?"
The sharpshooter sputtered, the last of the fluid falling off as he took a breath of air, "Y-Yeah, I'm fine."
Madison still looked worried, "Ya sure? Ya don't feel sick or anything, do ya? That could be poison spit for all I know." The Texan said before he beckoned his GREMLIN, "Here, I'll run an aid protocol just in case. It's better to be safe than sorry."
Robert nodded as he let the drone do it's work before pulling back, Madison checking the screen on the device.
"Huh, says you're fine." Madison sighed a breath of relief before he showed off his telltale grin, "Welp Robert, looks like you just become the first person to get extra terrestrially bukkaked."
"Fuck you Madison... Just fuck you." Robert said in frustration, the Texan let out a hearty laugh.
"C'mon, Let's get back to the others. I can't wait to tell them what just happened."
The specialist left as Robert shook his head before shivering.
"Why the hell is it so cold all of the sudden?" Robert asked to nobody in particular before walking out of the room, leaving the metal canister behind.
The team got off the Skyranger, their boots clanking against the ground as Dimitri laughed out again.
"And you say, he had Sectoid sperm sprayed onto his face!?" The russian yelled out loudly before laughing again, "That is most hilarious thing I have ever heard!"
"I know! C'mon, I wonder what SPARK would say about this!"
Robert groaned in frustration as he walked off the ramp, slinging his sniper rifle over his body. Amir put a hand on his shoulder as the Iranian man seemed concerned, "Do not listen to them Robert. Just remember that it happens to the best of us."
Robert face palmed as Amir's dialogue had the opposite effect. "God damn it... I'm fine. Really!"
Eliza walked up next to the two of them as she sighed and shook her head, giving Robert a sympathetic look, "Go get some rest you two, I gotta give a mission report to the the higher ups."
Amir nodded as Robert walked away without saying anything, he was still frustrated at the whole fluid thing, but at least he knew that Madison wouldn't spread the news around the ship... At least he thought he knew.
He entered the elevator before he scratched his skin, his hairs stood up as if he had a severe case of goose bumps. It felt as if his blood had froze for a second as his veins stopped only for it to warm up again like normal.
Robert he gently shrugged, perhaps it was a side effect from the aid protocol. After all he had heard stories from the veterans on the effect of med-gel.
The doors open before he got off, now in the barracks. The sector consisted of a hallway that had 5 integrated bunks, a pool table at the end, and a few exercise equipment. Because these barracks had been newly built, the only people that inhabited it for now was Robert's squad, however soon that wouldn't be the case. He passed a discarded and broken treadmill after Madison had attempted to use it as a tool for some Twinkie making shenanigan, of course it did not end well.
Robert smiled to himself before he yawned, now feeling tired due to the cold air.
He paused. Cold usually kept him awake, not make him sleepy.
What the hell was going on with him? Robert cautiously looked at his hands as he twiddled his fingers before he hung his head down, "What the hell am I doing? I should just go to sleep." The sharpshooter said to himself before he got out of his combat gear, hanging his vest and iPod next to his cot. His sketchbook had been left on the side table, every so often he would listen to music and draw in his free time.
He was now in his under shirt and pants before he yawned again, now falling to the side as he pulled his blanket over himself.
And without further ado, he closed his eyes, his mind now in full shutdown as he dreamed.
It was of snakes.
The loud alarm clock blared as Robert groggily awoke, his scaly black hand brushing away the covers as he climbed down from his cot before he stretched. He turned his head to see the rest of his team sleeping, all were accounted for except Madison, who was probably brushing his teeth already. He had quickly learnt that the Texan was a early riser as he used to be a farmhand.
Robert sighed, this time a bit raspier then usual as he slithered forward to the bathroom. The stalls were empty as Madison was busy washing his face.
"Mornin' partner." The Texan said as his eyes were closed, busy getting the soap out of them. "I hope you slept well with Sectoid sperm on your face." Madison said as he laughed.
Robert rolled his blue eyes as he rasped out, "I hate you."
There was a pause as Madison wiped the rest of his face, his eyes starting to open as he looked at the mirror.
"Ha! What the hell happened to your voic-"
The operative saw a menacing black Viper in the mirror, there was a pause before the Texan yelled in shock.
"HOLY SHIT! VIPER!"
Robert immediately shook his scaly head, "Yeah, I'm not gonna fall for-"
And then he looked in the mirror and flinched, the black Viper disappearing from the mirror as he fell to the floor. Robert panicked, attempting to find out where it was as he looked around. Only to see Madison staring down at him in shock.
"Madison! This isn't the time to be fucking around! Where the hell did it-" And then Robert's daze wore off as he saw his own hands, his fingers were now long and scaly, ending in dangerous looking nails.
Madison backed away as he stared wide eyed, Robert slowly getting to his knees... Or rather his tail as he slowly turned his head to the mirror.
Sure enough, the black scaled Viper did the same. It's serpentine face menacing but it's blue eyes full of confusion.
He looked on, a single thought crossing his mind as he began to shake.
As did the Viper.
"Wha- What...?" Robert hissed as he looked down at his new body, his scales glistening in the bathroom light as he now sported a muscular upper body. It felt as if his legs were still there, but now replaced with a long snake tail that held him upright instead.
Madison cautiously approached as he looked up at the Viper, "R-Robert? Is that you?"
Immediately the door to the bathroom opened as an angry Dimitri came in, followed by Amir as the Iranian appeared worried. "Which Cyka Blyat keeps fucking yel-" And then Dimitri saw Robert, who was now a giant black Viper as the Russian flinched in shock. "Cyka Blyat!"
Robert's eyes widened before he slithered away into the stall, locking himself in as he heard Dimitri spewed curses in Russian.
"Robert wait!" Madison yelled out, before Eliza entered, her sleeping mask was wrapped around her forehead as she walked in.
"What the hell is going on here?!" She commanded, Dimitri turned his head to her as Amir stared at the stall in shock.
"Big fucking Viper!" The Russian yelled as he attempted to walk past her, "Grab the guns-"
"Wait! Jesus Christ!" Madison said in desperation, "That's Robert you're gonna kill!"
"Robert?" Amir asked in a hush tone, "You are not making any sense Madison."
Madison turned his head to the Iranian, "That's because Robert's been turned into a fucking Viper!"
"Quiet!" Eliza commanded, all of the team pausing as they turned their heads to her. "There is only one way we can get to the bottom of this." There leader silently approached the stall before she knocked on it gently. "Robert? Are you in there?"
There was a pause before the sound of a raspy voice was heard. "G-Go away. I'm fine."
Eliza paused before she spoke, "By all means soldier, you do not sound fine." She sighed as she looked at the rest of the team before they bunched close together in the front of the stall. "Robert. We're going to open the door now."
There was no response, the team took it as a affirmative before Eliza slowly opened the stall door.
Sure enough, a black Viper was slumped in the corner, hiding it's face away from them as it's menacing body was defensively coiled around itself to take up the least space possible.
It's eyes peered through it's coils, but they appeared to be scared and nervous rather then aggressive.
Eliza paused before she spoke, "How did this happen?"
The Viper that was Robert paused before he uncoiled himself, his body still tense as Robert looked at his team. "I-I don't know. I didn't even realize before Madison saw me like thisss."
There was a pause before Madison exploded, "It must've been that fucking canister from yesterday! Fucking ADVENT probably filled it with weird alien bullshit! Now he's a god damn Viper!"
"Madison." Eliza said as she beckoned the Texan to calm down, he paused before he coughed politely.
"Right... Sorry Partner."
Dimitri watched as well, the Russian staring with disbelief as he instinctively spoke in his native tongue. "это пиздец."
"We need to tell someone of this." Amir said with concern, "Perhaps they might be able to help Robert."
Eliza turned her head to Robert. "C'mon Robert. We'll get you to Richard... He might be able to help.". The black Viper slowly nodded as he stood upright, still shaking as if he was getting accustomed to his body. "And whatever happens, you're still apart of our team." Eliza added as she guided the way.
"Fascinating... Absolutely fascinating." Richard said as he inspected the Viper, Robert was sitting on the white table as best as he could despite his new anatomy. His tail lazily drooped on the floor. "This is quite possibly the most bizarre case I have ever heard of."
"Well? Can you fix him doc?" Madison asked, the whole squad was there as they all waited for an answer.
Richard paused as he grabbed a scanner from the table, slowly hovering it over Robert as the Viper stared at him with it's blue eyes. Richard paused as he looked at it before he looked back up.
"I don't know."
Robert slowly hung his head down as Madison stepped forward.
"What the hell do you mean?!"
Richard sighed, "Have a look at this." The head researcher said as he showed the tablet, "As you can see here, this is a normal human DNA strand." Richard then changed the screen, now showing a different colored helix. "And this is Robert's..."
Madison paused as Eliza spoke, "Are you saying that he isn't even human anymore?"
"Yes and No." Richard said, "Whatever fluid that was sprayed in Roberts face must have been some extremely virile gene splicing composition. Something I didn't even think possible. And it seems that unless we can research more into this, Robert will have to stay as a Viper... However I have never even seen or heard of a male variant of a Viper yet... Perhaps there is much about the races of the ADVENT we still don't understand." The scientist mused to himself.
"So is there any way we can help?" Amir asked.
Richard looked at Robert before looking back at the squad, "Well... If we put resources into it, then we can possibly-"
"No." Robert rasped, "Don't."
Dimitri tilted his head, "What's gotten into you comrade? Do you not want to be cured?"
"I'm not going to spend our bases scarce budget if it's just for myself. I'd rather have it put into more useful things."
"Eliza, speak some sense into Robert will ya?" Madison said pleadingly.
The ranger paused as she looked at the Viper before she asked, "Are you sure Robert? There could be a potential-"
"I don't wanna hear it and that's final." Robert hissed as he crossed his scaly arms before he looked down, "I-I'll just try to be sssome use... Hell... You can autopsy me if you want doc."
Madison immediately sputtered, "Have you lost your fucking mind Robert!"
Amir nodded his head, "I agree, what you said is absolute-"
The doors opened as an aged man came through before he walked up to the group. John Bradford crossed his arms as he inspected Robert.
"You were right Richard... You do have to see it to believe it."
The squad immediately realized they were in the presence of a superior as all of them gave a salute, including Robert as his scaly fingers brushed against his reptilian forehead. John nodded as he spoke, "At ease operatives."
John looked up at Robert, the black Viper stared down from to avoid eye contact.
"You must be Robert."
The black Viper looked up as he nodded slowly, "Yes Sir."
"And how exactly did this happen?" John asked as he turned his head to Richard, the scientist coughed before he spoke.
"I have a lot of theory's regarding the substance that Robert was exposed to. But I believe the most likely explanation was that it was some biological weapon, or possibly a production method that the ADVENT were testing in order to introduce more Viper's. Regardless, I believe it is fortunate that Robert has appeared to have maintained his mental state."
"And how was he exposed to this chemical?" John asked, there was a pause before Madison slumped to his knees.
"It's all my fault, If I hadn't tripped over that stupid fucking thing, then we wouldn't have founded it. Even my GREMLIN showed that Robert was fine."
Robert looked at his friend with pity, "It's not your fault Madison, I picked it up. Remember?"
John shook his head, "It doesn't matter whose fault it was. I came here to ask one thing." The older man turned his head to Robert. "Come with me to the shooting range Robert, I wanna test something."
Robert looked around nervously as he fumbled with his new shirt, his sleeping wear had been torn due to his change in size, so the higher ups had gotten him a giant Xcom t-shirt from the old war. Not that he was ungrateful, but he now felt unworthy of wearing it due to his new appearance. The t-shirt covered his scaly black chest as it perfectly accommodated his size.
John came up next to him as he looked at the drawn Sectoid target.
The black Viper steadied his breath before he slithered upright, "I-I don't understand... How are you trusting me with a weapon? What if the ADVENT somehow figure out how to gain control of me? What if I turn?"
John crossed his arms, "Richard said your mental state was unaffected. And I see he was right if your displaying worry." The Officer turned his head to the shooting range, "Besides, you're a good operative Robert. No DNA splice is going to change that."
"You can't be implying that-" Robert paused, "You believe I can still fight for Xcom?"
John simply shrugged, "That's the idea."
Robert steadied his breath as his elongated, black scaled, snake like face turned to that of determination. "Very well. What do I have to do Sssir?" Robert rasped.
The green shirted man grinned as he reached into a weapon closet, grabbing a Gauss rifle. Similar to the one John had used on the field. "Shoot that drawn Sectoid."
The Viper tilted his head, "Really? That's-"
And then the target went back as the pulley took it towards the far end of the shooting range, adding two more Sectoid targets as they rapidly moved between eachother. Robert gulped, it was hard to hit a rapidly moving target at that speed, it would miracle if his shot connected.
He looked at John only for the Central Officer to gesture for him to fire. Robert looked back before he peered through his scope.
And then everything clicked.
He fired, the magnetized bullet perfectly going through all three of the drawn Sectoids, the bullet striking perceptively in all three of the targets forehead, in the exact same spot. Robert lowered his rifle as he gaped in shock. How the hell did he pull off a shot like that?
"Just as I suspected. You have the accuracy of a Viper now." John said as he crossed his arms, "No human could ever even hope to pull of a shot like that."
"R-Really?" Robert asked as he set down the Gauss Rifle.
John nodded before he took a pen from a nearby table and immediately threw it. The utensil was aimed at Robert as the Viper operative unceremoniously caught it, between his two long fingers that is. Robert stared at his fingers in wonder as he dropped the pen, looking at his own hands.
"And reflex too." John added, "I believe I've seen enough."
Robert didn't know why, but he felt excited. A wave of exhilaration passed through him as he realized what this meant. He could fire a gun well, if not better now due to his transformation, and now his new reptilian and animalistic reflex made him perfectly suited for combat. He could still serve Xcom.
"We'll run another training course to test if your movement ability has been impaired. Understood?"
Robert nodded an affirmative.
"Now get a move on operative, I have to check up on something."
The Viper saluted before he left, leaving John as the Officer looked at the shutters on the shutters became transparent, revealing someone sitting behind them as a figure watched with interest.
"Did you see all that commander?" John asked.
The figure gave a thumbs up in approval.
Barracks, 3 hours later
When Robert had arrived back to the barracks with his assigned rations, the squad was awfully quiet as they sat down. Robert had been afraid that he would break the chair, so instead he had rested his upper body on the coils of his tail, using a spork to eat a piece of steak.
They ate in silence before Amir looked up from his meal, "Robert... What did John tell you?"
Robert stopped eating as he looked up, "Well... He took me to the shooting range and then I performed a movement test to Sssee if I was still combat operational."
"Wait." Dimitri said, "You mean they will let you fight on?"
The Viper nervously stared down, "Yeah..."
There was a long pause before Madison breathed a sigh of relief, "Well ain't that breath of fresh air. I really thought you were seriously going to do yourself in with that autopsy idea."
"Da, this is better idea then autopsy." Dimitri said in agreement as Amir nodded.
Robert was surprised to say the least, he had expected his team mates to take the news with fear seeing as he was now... This thing...
"I don't get it... Aren't you guys sssupposed to be... Y'know..."
"What?" Eliza asked, "We're happy you can fight with us Robert. Remember what we promised? Whatever happens, you're still apart of our team."
Robert looked up from his food before he smiled, his scaly lips bending upwards. "Thanks guys..."
Madison opened his arms as he stood up from his chair, "C'mon, group hug people."
Everybody stood up as they all got into a cliche, albeit, heartwarming group hug as Madison patted everyone on the back. Madison pulled back as he grinned, "Besides, I can't wait to see the look on ADVENTS face when you come into the picture. They'll be runnin' like a bat outta hell."
"Which begs the question, how good is your combat ability soldier?" Eliza asked.
Robert scratched the back of his hood like head as he spoke, "Well... They had me ssshoot a Gauss rifle, got three targets with one shot."
"Incredible..." Amir said, "Perhaps there are some benefits to your change."
Robert paused in thought before he admittedly agreed. "Maybe..."
They all finished their respective rations before Robert uncoiled himself, "I gotta go see Lily, John told me she told me engineering had something to show me."
"Yeah sure! Get going partner!" Madison said cheerfully. Robert smiled as he left, the words of his squad mates giving him confidence and courage to face the world despite his new appearance. However before he went into the elevator, he reached out onto his personal bed and grabbed his left behind iPod. The earphones still miraculously worked as they stretched over his serpentine head and into the hole of his reptilian ear.
He clicked play before one of his favorite song came on.
Brazil, the version played and sung by Geoff Mulduar.
He smiled to himself as he used his new long tongue to whistle the lyrics despite his raspy voice, he was glad to see something still remained the same as the elevator closed. Taking him to the engineering bay.
When the elevator doors opened, he was greeted by SPARK as he looked at him up and down. The engineering section was still quite messy, but it seemed to have tidied up the last time he was here.
Before he had the body of a Viper that is.
Robert dismissed that thought as he looked at the MEC, "Hey SPARK, what does Lily have in store?"
And then SPARK spoke, revealing the it's true voice, "Ugh, didn't know we were hiring dirty snakes now." The MEC said in a condescending tone.
Robert immediately frowned, "Lily, you programmed Julian into the SPARK?"
The Viper turned his head to see Lily busily working on something as she lifted her welding mask and gaped, "Wow... I gotta admit Carter. Seeing you up close is more different then hearing about it."
Most operatives had known of Lily, as all of them respected her to a high degree. She worked tirelessly to equip them and give them better gear, gear that could save them on the field. Robert had met the engineer a couple of times, and he was always thankful to her.
"Yeah... Sssame goes for me too." Robert rasped. "When I look in the mirror that is..."
Lily took on a piteous look, "Hey... Don't weigh yourself down. I got something to show you." She turned her head to the MEC, "Julian, bring the design over here."
"Why don't you get some other errand boy to-" Suddenly Julian paused before his programming straightened itself out, "Very well."
Robert sighed as he watch the MEC go into the backroom, "I ssstill don't get why you have Julian programmed on SPARK. I heard he was a complete asshole."
The engineer merely chuckled, "I know. But... My father put a lot of work into him." She shook her head, "And... Don't tell anyone this, but I kinda felt bad for him."
"Felt bad? Why? The veterans told me that Julian tried to kill you and the squad Alpha."
Lily nodded in agreement, "Yeah... You are right, that still wasn't an excuse for trying to kill us all. I got rid of his higher level reasoning, he'll have to obey and listen to my commands. But he was also right about being left behind, he even felt betrayed by my father."
Julian came back with a giant crate, "Here. Don't expect me to put it on for you." The AI said harshly.
"Put it on?" Robert asked, Lily nodded.
"Julian designed it, but I developed it even further to make it comfy after John even gave me an estimate of your new weight and height."
The Viper reached down as he opened the crate, revealing a modified spider suit that seemingly appeared spread out. Robert grabbed it before holding it up, realizing the end of it was incredibly long and curved, almost as if...
"Can I?" Robert asked to Lily, the engineer nodded as the operative slowly put it on. Pulling it over his head as the long end of it adjusted downwards, covering his lower and upper body in a comfortable yet armored fashion as it stretched down to where his tail met the ground. He was even able to wriggle his long serpentine neck as he turned to slither, looking back at Lily, "I-I don't know what to say."
Lily smiled, "Let's keep it at a thank you."
Robert nodded, "Thanks Lily..." And then he turned his head to MEC, "And... Well... Thank you too Julian."
The MEC tilted his head, "Why are you giving me your worthless praise?"
"Well, Lily said that you desssigned the first version of it."
Julian didn't respond, instead pausing in thought.
Suddenly the alarms blared as John Bradford spoke through it, "Attention, Squad 3. Report to mission control."
"Squad 3?" Lily asked, "Isn't that your team?"
Roberts eyes widened. "I gotta go!" He turned his head to Lily, "Thanks again you two! I owe the both of you!"
Lily waved, "Good luck out there Carter!" She said as she chuckled.
"Yes, yes. Try not to get yourself stupidly killed after I was forced to design that cursed thing." Julian said mercilessly.
The Viper sported a look of determination as he entered the elevator, now taking him upwards.
Robert entered the large briefing room, a giant hologram of earth gently floated in the middle as a few operatives were busy working on the best course of action. However when Robert had slithered in, they all paused as they stared at him. Robert assumed that they had heard the news as nobody seemed to shout in surprise or raise any weapons as he hung his serpentine head low to avoid eye contact, luckily everybody seemed to pity Robert rather then despise him. That was the least they could do for him.
He raised his head before he saw his team, being informed by John. He quickly slithered up to them as his four squad mates turned their heads to him and smiled.
"Glad to see you're already equipped operative." John said as he looked back at the group, "As you can see, command has made a consensus. We will be including operative Robert in this assault."
Madison patted his armored shoulder, "Glad to see you here partner..."
The Viper nodded as he spoke with pride, "Yeah. I wanna thank high command too... For giving me a chance to fight for Xcom."
"You're appreciation is noted operative." John said before he went on, "As I was saying, you're mission is simple." The Central Officer as he pointed at the tablet, "Tell me, does this look familiar?"
Eliza's eyes widened, "Isn't that the location from Operation Gatecrasher?"
"Exactly. Apparently ADVENT didn't get the message and are publicly going to erect another statue, but that is besides the point." John said, "Our moles were able to find intel on a lightly guarded information cache. I want you all to secure it and hack into it, we might be able to delay the Avatar Project with that info."
Madison raised his hand, "And what about the statue?"
"That will be a side objective." John said as he implied a greater meaning.
The Texan smiled, whilst Dimitri shook his head as he sighed mournfully. A bad sign obviously.
"Get ready to board Skyranger, you'll be briefed on the way."
The squad nodded as they turned around, all five of them together and as a team before they got in the elevator.
They all sat buckled into their respective places, even Robert as his scaly arms held onto the metal. In all truth, he was incredibly anxious.
Perhaps there was a miscalculation with the higher ups, what if he wasn't actually combat ready as he hoped he was? It was already crazy enough that he was being sent on a retrieval mission after all that had transpired.
"2 minutes till I drop you guys off, you'll be undetected." Firebrand said through the radio.
Madison smiled from across Skyranger, "Hey! Robert! You still got that relic with ya?"
Robert broke away from his musings as he nodded, "I never leave without it."
"Well? Why don't ya play us something! Get us pumped for the good of the mission."
Robert paused as he looked at beside him, Dimitri and Amir seemed supportive as they grinned at him whilst Eliza smiled warmly. The Viper operative thought for a second as he reached down to his iPod, carefully using his long fingers to sift through his large list of music.
It took a second for him to find the perfect one
"I think you guysss might like this one."
He clicked play before music blared. The song, Firestarter, the version sung by Torre Florim played as they unbuckled themselves from their seats and stood up, getting ready to rappel down.
"This is good song." Dimitri admitted. "Depicts Madison perfectly."
"Hey! I ain't twisted!" Madison said before he gazed up in thought, "At least I don't think so."
Eliza and Amir walked up to Robert as they primed their weapons, "Can you still rappel?" Eliza asked. The Viper nodded as he took his Gauss rifle and pistol, putting it on his belt as he looked down at his scaly body.
It still felt unreal to see it, his newly designed armor at least made him forget what had happened to him as the symbol of Xcom was shone proudly on the front of it.
"Yeah. John had me trained in a mobility course. It honestly feels natural with this body."
"That is good to hear." Amir said, as if on Que the ramp began to open. Robert briefly looked down at his iPod as he halted the music, putting his earphones in his new reptilian earholes.
"Alright, it's showtime." Madison said as he rappelled down, Dimitri following closely behind him. Amir and Eliza were next as the clung onto the rope descended. Robert sighed as he calmed his breath, the music working wonders to distract him of his fears before his hand grabbed onto the rope.
He opened his blue eyes as he rasped out.
"Let's do thisss."
And without further ado, he followed down after them, his strong Viper hand grasping the rappel as he landed effortlessly. His squad looked at him before they looked back out, they were in an ally way.
"Alright team. You know the drill." John said over the radio, "Move out."
They all nodded as they went forward, Robert slithering as he kept up with his team. All with the same goal in mind.
Complete the mission.
Xalah slowly slithered up to the command truck as the Viper collected her beam rifle, her yellow and orange patterned scales glistened in the sunlight as she held her rifle close to her body. She turned around to the statue and the crowd of growing humans that stood. Awaiting for the statue to be unveiled.
Although she had been sent here by her masters to oversee the unveiling, In reality her true job was for her to guard a hidden info cache that was awaiting transportation. The likes of which was calmly being load inside the guarded truck.
Of course, for the past few months, this operation would've been overseen by ADVENT troopers due to the unveiling being in a city center. However with the increase of guerrilla activities all around the globe, things were becoming more... Of an annoyance to say the least as they now began to include Vipers in the populated city areas.
She hissed in frustration as she stared at the crowd before looking at the ADVENT officer.
"We're too exposed out here. When will we transport the cache?" Xalah asked.
The officer turned his head, his helmet obscuring his features as he answered, "When the Elders will it."
She shut her mouth as she looked on, she knew better then to speak out against the Elders wishes. Their word was law. But at the same time there had to be a better alternative to this.
There just had to be.
She hissed out again as her long fingers reached down her rifle. She was about to prime it before she tasted something.
Before her race had been uplifted by the Elders, most Vipers would use there long tongues to taste the air and sense. Nowadays that function had been lost, instead keen eyes and reflex had made up for this loss. However that didn't mean that Viper's could no longer sense other Viper's. Xalah let her purple tongue hiss again as he red eyes scanned the area.
She sensed another Viper nearby.
Xalah tilted her head in confusion, "Officer, I sense something."
The ADVENT Officer turned his head to her, "What do you-"
And then suddenly the loud noise of a magnetic discharge was heard before the Officer's head exploded into orange chunks. The small crowd of human's in the area immediately panicked as they dispersed from the scene. ADVENT troopers immediately yelled out in alarm before gunfire broke out, figures from the alleyways showed themselves as they fired upon the ADVENT.
Xalah's eyes widened as the Viper slithered into an alley way, her heart beating against her chest as she attempted to coil her head down.
She knew deep down that this would happen, and now she would have to fight for her survival.
"Elders protect me..." Xalah said to herself before she loaded her beam rifle, now sporting a determined face as her red eyes narrowed. She would await the moment, and then she would strike.
"Nice shot Robert! You blew that bastards head clean off!" Madison yelled out as he opened fire at the ADVENT down below, his GREMLIN floating close to him.
Eliza, Amir, and Dimitri were down at the street level.
The Russian was firing off his Mag cannon at will as he suppressed the Troopers. Amir on the other hand had used his Psi Amp to cast soulfire, barraging an unfortunate trooper with psychic energy as the alien vomited orange blood and fell to the ground, dead.
Eliza in the meanwhile, had taken a flanking route as she aimed her shard gun at a nearby trooper and fired, tearing the alien into pieces as shards tore through the hybrids body.
Robert didn't say anything, most of the time he was quiet when he was looking through the scope. When he was young, his grandfather taught him to be silent when hunting deer in Kentucky.
His sharpshooting skills therefore translated well when he had joined Xcom at the age of 30, and now even better with his precise reptilian eye sight. Robert breathed in before he aimed in on a ADVENT trooper that had briefly gotten out of cover, priming a grenade in his hand.
He breathed out, his long tongue hissing on instinct before he fired.
The magnetic round hitting the grenade as it exploded, obliterating the ADVENT troopers that were near the detonation zone. Officially making the area clear.
Madison gaped in shock, as the rest of the team turned there heads to him.
Robert merely shrugged and rasped, "What?"
"This is Command, have you located the Intel cache?"
Madison shook out of his stupor before he climbed down, the Texan took a second before he pointed. "There. Right there. GREMLIN sensed some sort of storage unit."
"Copy that, extract with caution." John responded.
Eliza reloaded her shard gun as Robert slither down from the platform, brandishing a pistol. Eliza spoke out, "You heard the man, let's move."
They all nodded before they moved forward and in between cover, reaching the truck as Madison opened the door, revealing a small ADVENT council. "Ah! That's what I'm talking about." He turned his head to the rest of the team, "I'll get this machine singin' in no time." Madison said as his GREMLIN's tablet opened up, allowing him to hack into the system.
Amir turned his head to Robert, "I must say Robert. That was an admirable shot. Not even I can detonate an explosive yet with Psi."
"Yes. Very good shooting." Dimitri agreed as he kept his eyes peeled. Robert's large mouth smiled and acknowledged there compliments.
"Got it!" Madison said as he stepped off the truck, "I even left a little surprise for them..." The Texan said to himself as he chuckled darkly before he looked up. "Let's get the hell outta here!"
Eliza nodded before she popped a flare, rolling it in front of them as it separated into a square. Dimitri and Amir went first, stepping into the square as they were rappled upwards. Eliza next as she rushed through, reaching her hand out before disappearing into the Skyranger.
Robert sighed as he took his iPod, selecting the song Brazil again as the whistling filled his head again.
"Well that was easy." Madison said, "If you ask me, I was expecting shit to hit the fan, like that time with the Sectopod."
"That was your fault if I remember correctly." Robert hissed, "The amount of explosivesss you used was way too many."
"Excuse's, excuse's." Madison said before he began to walk from the cover of the truck, his head turned to Robert. "Next time I'll make sure to-"
A beam shot out, striking the Texan right in the foot as the technician yelled out in pain, slumping in the middle of the street.
Robert Carter paused as his snake like jaw unhinged in shock.
Xalah had to reserve her time and wait patiently. If she had struck and made her presence known then it would be all over, and so far, her waiting had paid off. The human insurgent was a sitting duck now as he writhed on the floor.
She stepped out of the shadows to get a clearer shot, her yellow scaled finger slowly beginning to squeeze the trigger.
"Elders take you." She whispered.
However right before her weapon could activate, a black figure ran forward, way quicker then a human possibly could ever manage as it hoisted the injured man over it's shoulder.
A black scaled, blue eyed, male Viper. It wore a set of insurgent armor as it took out a mag pistol with it's free hand, spotting her at the mouth of the alleyway.
Blue eyes stared back at the red of hers.
Xalah's eyes widened.
"Wha... What is this?" She rasped to herself as her grip on her weapon began to shake. A Viper, a male one no less, helping a human insurgent? Was she seeing things? Was this some cruel mind trick played by an Sectoid? She was told that the males of her race were extinct, yet here one was, pointing a primitive mag pistol at her.
The two of them stared at each other, the male's black scaled face seemed perplexed as he saw her shake.
However there eye contact broke as the male slowly grabbed a rappel line before he was hoisted upwards. Xalah shook out of her stupor as she slithered forward, lowering her beam rifle.
"Wait! Who are you!?" She demanded before she saw the male disappear within the human transport.
The Viper looked up before slumping forward on her coils, her mind intermingled with shock and confusion. What in the Elder's names was going on?
She was broken out of her thoughts as an explosion detonated the truck she was meant to protect, blowing up the data cache and the statue that was meant to be unveiled. Her red eyes stared as the statue tipped over, smashing the pavement.
"This must be a dream..." Xalah hissed, images of the males piercing blue eyes came to mind as she slowly rose, grabbing her beam rifle before she walked away from the wreckage. But not before looking back at the sky and whispered, "Why?"
"Ouch! What the hell Dimitri!" Madison yelled, "Are you trying to kill me!?"
"Quit being a big baby." The Russian said in typical Russian fashion, "Your leg will not heal itself."
The Texan groaned as Eliza stared down at him with her arms crossed, "This is why you should have checked if the street was clear. You could've been dead if it weren't for Robert."
Amir nodded in agreement. "I agree."
Madison sighed as he turned his head, Robert was still looking down at the ramp as if he was deep in thought. "Thanks for saving my ass Partner."
"Hmm?" Robert hissed as he turned his head, "Oh, yeah... No problem."
The team then conversed as they got ready to buckle in.
Robert however, stared at the ramp as his mind was deep in thought. The song Brazil, still blared loudly in his earphones.
"Why didn't you take the shot?" He whispered to himself out of earshot from his team. He slowly turned his scaly head, buckling himself in.
"Re-turn... I will... to old... Braa-Ziil!" And with that the song came to a close. Leaving Robert Carter in deep and silent thought as his new body stirred uncomfortably, his thoughts now on the enchanting red eyes of the ADVENT Viper as he stared down at the metal floor.
Yep... I like to reference songs a lot. I would recommend listening to them... And also because I listen to them while writing.
Translation: это пиздец. - This/it is fucked up.