Robert slowly slithered up the ramp alongside Madison. Dimitri had gotten over the daze, now freely conversing with Madison.
"That is not possible. I couldn't have done that while I was dazed."
"Uh, yeah it was. Ya were droolin' too. Like a lil' baby." Madison said gleefully before the Russian punched him in the shoulder.
"I swear to god cowboy, if you start spreading Rumors-" He then turned his head to the Viper, "Robert! Tell this Zhopa that he's fucking wrong!"
However Robert didn't hear him. He was currently looking upward at Xalah, the Viper looking back down at him from the inside of the Avenger. She looked at him for a split second before turning away. Robert sighed, his tongue involuntarily hissing out as Madison and Dimitri came up next to him.
"... Uh, partner... You okay?"
Robert paused before rasped a response, "... I'm fine."
Madison and Dimitri looked at each other for a second before something else caught their attention.
"Ah shit... Body bag."
The black Viper immediately turned his head. Sure enough, a clean white plastic that held the shape of a person was laid the ramp. A few medics attending it as squad Bravo stood next to the bag. The squad holding a moment of silence among each other.
"Zaebis'..." Dimitri whispered, "Who was it?"
Robert narrowed his eyes, spotting a designation at the side of the bag before rasping out.
Madison immediately turned his head, "Shit, one of the Reapers? Didn't we meet that guy on the elevator?"
The black Viper paused as he watched the medics pick up the bag by the stretchers, carrying it inside as squad Bravo slowly followed.
Robert had to admit, he had regarded the man to be antagonistic and a bit of on asshole from the encounter on the elevator, but seeing others grieve for him showed that their was another side to Abbot's personnel effect.
It made him feel guilty for not knowing it.
He briefly considered giving his condolences until he heard something crinkle in front of him. He craned his scaly neck down to see a dog tag on the metal flooring.
"I gotta say, it feels pretty fucking awful-" A voice spoke up, Robert turning his hood to see another Reaper, taking off his mask. He immediately recognized the person as Barry, the other Reaper from the elevator. His mask was off and his face looked tired, his beard unkempt. He looked to be of South American origin. "-to lose a brother to ADVENT."
Robert stared at the Reaper, "Abbot, he was your brother?"
Barry narrowed his gaze, "Not in blood, but in heart. Now he's dead."
The Viper paused, "I'm really sorry for your-"
"Oh shut the fuck up." Barry retorted, sporting a fed up expression. "Fucking Vipers."
"Hey now wait just a damn moment." Madison spoke up, "What the hell is your problem?"
"My problem? My problem is that this cabrão exists." Barry said, "If Xcom was smart, they would've kicked him out. There's no way in hell they could trust an Alien. Former Human or not."
Dimitri was about to speak up in turn before Robert put a hand in front of the Russian. The former Human wanted to speak for himself.
"Listen, I'm sorry about your brother. But you need to understand that Xcom is everything to me, just like how it should be everything to you now. We both need to learn how to work together if we want to free Humanity from ADVENT control."
Barry chuckled, "Really? What about your girlfriend."
Robert's scales immediately went still, "What about Xalah?"
The Reaper reached down into his pack, producing a cigarette. "You ever hear the saying? No matter how much a snake sheds skin, it's still a fucking snake. Maybe I should pay her a visit, bring a knife too, see which side she's really on."
To say Robert lost his cool was an understatement.
The Viper immediately balled a fist before throwing a hook directly into the Barry's face, knocking down the Reaper as his cigarette fell from his mouth. Madison and Dimitri held wide eyes as Robert reached down and picked the man up by the collar.
"I ssswear to fucking god if you touch her-"
Barry chuckled bitterly despite his bruised cheek. "Would you look at that. You even hiss like one too."
The Viper gritted his fangs, raising another fist before someone yelled out.
"What the hell is going on here?!"
Robert turned his hood, as did Barry. The central officer Bradford stood on the ramp alongside Dragunova as the Reaper had her arms crossed, her mask on. The Viper immediately let go of the man before saluting.
Bradford however, didn't seem very happy. "Assaulting another member of the resistance is a offense that is not taken lightly Operative."
Robert paused, "I'm sorry..."
"Sorry's not good enough. We have rules Robert." Bradford said in a stern voice before slowly turning away "I'm going back into the Avenger. We'll have to talk about this on a later date."
"Understood." Robert rasped.
The central officer left as Barry chuckled. Dragunova immediately reacted, walking forward and backhanding the Reaper, making the man sputter as she spoke in a seething tone.
"We taught you better than this Reaper! Stop acting like a complete fool!"
The Reaper gritted his teeth, "What!? How could you stand for this!? After what happened to Abbot!?"
Dragunova grabbed the Reaper's shoulder, holding a finger to his face. "Abbot was a good Reaper. But I saw what had happened. He was clearly trying to add another kill to his name and he paid the price for overextending. Trying to blame others for his death is stupid and illogical when it was clearly a folly that ADVENT took advantage of."
She narrowed her gaze.
"You cannot afford to make mistakes in this war Barry, not a single one."
Barry glared for a second before turning away, storming up the ramp. Dragunova turned her head to Robert.
"I must apologize for him. Although we Reaper's boast experience, some of us clearly lack discipline." She then walked down the ramp, "You best be going. I have to watch the perimeter, and afterwards... Attend a funeral."
Robert paused, slowly nodding his hood before slithering forward into Dimitri and Madison quietly following beside him.
Unbeknownst to him however was that Xalah had watched the argument from behind one of the turrets, her keen red eyes slowly looking away before she quickly slithered onto one of the elevators.
Aadya panted out in exhaustion as she held the wounded Viper over her shoulder. It had been hours now, and carrying her brethren was taking quite a toll on her scales. But she carried on regardless. Mirna trailed next to her, the smaller Viper keeping her head down.
"We are almost there..." Aadya rasped.
Mirna looked up, "Aadya... Will she be okay?"
The bigger Viper blinked before she shook her head, "I don't know Mirna. But I'm sure once we get to the rally point, someone will get help for her." Aadya noticed her sister slowly hang her hood down, "What's wrong sister?"
"I-..." She paused, "How did we lose that battle Aadya if the Elders willed our victory?"
Aadya narrowed her gaze, "Mirna... The Elders work in strange ways-"
"Then why did two of our sisters die today?!" Mirna hissed, her personality changing. "If the Elders truly are all powerful, how have we not won this war ye-!?"
A sound was heard, Mirna's vision blurring for a second. It took the smaller Viper a second to realize that Aadya had slapped her, the scales around her cheeks feeling sore from the hit as the bigger Viper glared down at her.
"I will not let you speak such heresy's and dishonor the sacrifices our sisters made. Do you understand me Mirna?"
Mirna rubbed the side of her serpentine face before slowly nodding.
"Good. Now let us-"
Aadya was cut off as a giant humming was heard in the air. The two Viper's watched as the insurgent supply craft disappeared into the night sky, it's engines emitting a low hum before echoing out for good.
Elder's will or not, the implication was already obvious.
They had lost this battle.
The two Viper's tore their hoods away from the sky to see a column of ADVENT soldiers approach from the road. An Officer alongside two Sectoids stood at the front as he held his hand out in a gesture to stop.
"State your designations!"
Aadya spoke up as she held her head high, "25038C."
The Officer turned his head to Mirna, "And yours?"
Mirna paused, "26395C..."
"And what about hers?" The Officer asked as he pointed at the wounded Viper.
"... Unknown, that info was only known to our previous Superior."
The Officer paused, putting a hand to his sightless helmet as if he was trying to listen to someone. He then tilted his head back up, "Very well. You can put her down. Get on the APC and return to your compound. We shall take care of it from here."
Aadya nodded, placing the wounded Viper gently on the ground.
"Come on Mirna. Let us go."
The Viper slowly nodded her hood, slithering closely to Aadya as the column gave way for the two Vipers. They were halfway their to the van before a mag shot was heard, the two Vipers briefly startled as they turned their hoods.
The Officer stood over the now dead Viper, a mag pistol in his hand as the barrel let out heat to show that it had fired.
Mirna's eyes widened, "Y-You killed her!"
The Officer turned his head up from the corpse, his helmet tilting. "And...? In case you didn't know, we are at war Viper. I was granting her a swift mercy." The Officer then holstered his pistol.
She looked at the Officer, her tail and coil growing cold, giving her the appearance of an agitated snake. "But that was not your decision to make!"
The Officer's mouth curled into a sneer, his helmet turning to Aadya.
"25038C. Keep your subordinate under control or I'll do it for you."
"I- Of course Superior." Aadya paused, looking at Mirna before putting a hand on her shoulder. "Enough of this foolishness Mirna. We leave now."
Mirna couldn't believe what was happening as her jaw hung agape. She felt her fangs grit together before she turned away, slithering into the APC and ignoring the looks the Troopers gave her.
Aadya turned her hood to watch the smaller Viper enter the transport, the bigger Viper felt guilt like none other as she heard the Officer speak.
"Glad to see you are at least competent 25038C. Elder's guide us."
She paused, before rasping the phrase back.
"Elder's guide us."
"This game is soooo fuckin' stupid." Madison said as he leaned back on the couch, watching Amir play on the old PS4 with a drink in his hand. After the Avenger had briefly lifted off, it had to land again for repairs, leaving the squad with nothing to do. "Like seriously, how can they not notice ya sneak around in cardboard box in the middle of fucking Afghanistan? Ya literally stick out like a sore thumb."
"Ah, but it is a game my friend. You should not question it." The Iranian said as he tapped the bandage on his head.
Dimitri watched them play Metal Gear Solid 5 with a beer in his hand as the Russian pointed at the screen.
"My father was in this war."
Madison turned his head, "Shit, seriously? What's his name?"
"Alexsandr Senaviev. He was in the Spetsnaz when I was born, he was also the reason why I got so into machine guns. Last time we spoke was months ago... I hope he's okay."
"Huh..." Madison said as he took a drink. "Damn, that reminds me. I gotta check up on my cousin-"
The door to the bathroom opened as Robert slithered out, a brown X-com hoodie in the place of his T-shirt which covered the newly placed bandage. His ipod was placed in the hoodies hand holder as the earphones dangled out.
Madison turned his head, grabbing another beer from the cooler, "Hey Partner, wanna beer?"
Robert slowly nodded, accepting the bottle before sitting down next to the Texan, the Viper easily taking off the cap with his bare hands. He then took a sip, watching Amir play.
There was a long pause, before Dimitri broke the silence.
"Is everything alright Robert?"
The Viper turned his head, "Hmm? Yeah, why wouldn't it?"
Madison coughed, "Because ya barely ever drink Robert. When I offered a beer I didn't actually expect you to take it."
Robert paused before he sighed, putting down the bottle.
"Y-Yeah... You're right." He rasped before lowering his hood into his two hands, "I don't know what to do guys... I feel like I fucked up, big time."
There was a pause before Madison spoke, "Y'know what? Robert, get the fuck up."
"What?" Robert rasped before the Texan grabbed him by the edge of the hood, almost how one would grab someone's ears. "Ow, ow, ow, hey! That hurtsss!"
"I don't give a damn! Now listen to me-" Madison said as he held Robert's serpentine mouth shut, "Stop feeling sorry for yourself and go fucking talk to her! I know you want to protect her, but keep in mind that she also wants to protect you. You're both god damn soldiers for crying out loud!"
Robert paused, his friend was right.
Xalah, as far as he was concerned, was exactly like him when it came to protecting the ones he loved. She was fearless, quick to act, and absolutely stubborn.
And that was why he fell in love with her.
"I- You're right." Robert hissed. "You're absolutely right! I-I need to go!"
The Viper then slithered away, getting onto the elevator as he quickly tapped onto one of the buttons, the doors quickly closing.
Dimitri smiled, "Ha! You sure knew what to say cowboy."
Madison nodded as he crossed his arms, "Damn right! I am a mother fuckin' god of words-"
"Madar kharbeh!" Amir yelled as he threw his controller down, the game over screen on the tv.
There was a long pause before Dimitri spoke up,
"Did Amir just swear?"
The Viper paced back and forth as she held a hand beneath her jaw, her mind contemplating.
She didn't know what to do.
On one hand, she wanted to remain angry at Robert. How could he tell her that what she did was wrong? She only wanted to protect him!
Yet on the other hand... She felt completely miserable for what she had technically started.
Robert clearly cared for her, she had seen him stand up for her back at the ramp if she needed proof. She stood still before sighing, she didn't know how to proceed or what to do.
And then a knock was heard at her door. The Viper paused, swiveling her hood to the side as her body followed before opening it, revealing a black scaled Viper, his features mirroring regret as his hood hung low.
"Robert? What are you-?" The Viper remembered that she was meant to be angry, "...What are you doing here?"
He paused before he rasped out.
"Xalah... I wanted to say that..." He looked up, his blue eyes peering at her. "I've been a complete fucking idiot."
She tilted her head back, clearly confused. "Huh?"
"You heard me." He then reached for her hands, bringing them in between. Her warm scales contrasting with the cold of his.
"I overreacted when I shouldn't have." He looked down, "I-... I just wanted to feel like I wasss protecting you, that you didn't need to put yourself in danger for my sake." Robert chuckled bitterly, "But I screwed that up too, and you pretty much saved my ass again..."
Xalah looked up at him, her red eyes wide as her jaw was open with surprise.
He looked away, letting go of her hands. "I-I should go. You probably want some time alone-"
"Robert..." Xalah rasped.
The black Viper looked back as he watch her red eyes, traces of moisture building up at the bottom of her eye lids.
"I was nothing but a slave to ADVENT-" She rasped as she bought up a hand to her eyes, wiping away the traces of tears. "But when we got stuck in that forest. You taught me what it was like to be free..."
She looked up, a relieved smile on her face.
"I was already saved by you."
Robert stared at her before he slithered forward, embracing his arms around her as his coils instinctively wrapped around her own. She shivered against him, his cold scales leaving a pleasant feeling on her scales.
They both stared each other in the eyes before leaning forward, their lips meeting as the world around them ceased to exist. They then separated, panting silently.
"So... I'm gonna take a guess and say that I'm forgiven?" Robert rasped.
Xalah paused, the intimate interaction now coursing dirty thoughts into her head. She looked at him, half lidded eyes as she smiled.
"Partia-?" Robert didn't finish as he gasped, Xalah suggestively rubbing up against him. A cheeky grin growing on her face as Robert looked at her with surprise.
"Perhaps you can make up for the rest?"
The black Viper paused before smiling. "Sure... L-Let me lock the door."
She nodded, allowing him to separate as he turned to slither to the doorway. Robert pressed a keypad, the metal door shutting itself, that would make sure nobody would disturb them.
He was about to turn around only for Xalah to come up behind him, putting a hand on his shoulder.
"Take this off." She rasped, tugging at his hoodie.
The male turned as he smiled, his tongue hissing in amusement as he took off the clothing. It wasn't long before his chest was bare, Xalah softly placing her hand on it as she felt his scaly skin. The Viper took in her mates appearance, her eyes half lidded.
Although Robert's scales were as black as midnight, his vulnerable underbelly was noticeably lighter, almost white even as a bandage could be seen on his lower body. All Viper's had incredibly tough muscles beneath their scales in order to operate, and Robert was no exception as traces of abs could be seen on his stomach and chest.
Xalah stared for another second before she could feel her arousal rise by tenfold. An accumulation of dirty thoughts circulating in her mind as she silently hissed, just being in the presence of a male seemed to do it for her.
Robert seemingly sensed it to, her body unknowingly releasing pheromones as signals erupted in his mind, notifying him that a female was getting horny.
"Xalah..." Robert hissed, the female suppressing a shiver at the way he said her name.
He merely nudged his head, looking down at her tank top. Xalah immediately got the message, an excited look on her face as she reached down for her tank top. Grabbing onto the hems as the clothing slowly slid up her scales.
The synthetic fabric easily peeled off before it reached her breasts, Xalah struggled for a second, her fingers desperately attempting to relieve the edges before Robert immediately assisted, pulling one side upwards.
Her left breast plopped free, the size of a watermelon as it bounced ever so slightly. Robert immediately feeling a familiar tightening in his lower scales as his breathing quickened, his hands now a little more urgent as he worked up the other side. The tank top scrunched up below Xalah's hood as both breasts laid bare, Xalah's coils shivering as she awaited her mate.
Robert wasted no time, his hands immediately cupping her breasts, long fingers touching the sensitive scales. Xalah tilted her head back, hissing out as her jaw quivered, fangs out.
Her sex finally revealed itself, scales shifting as her puffy slit was exposed. Robert seemed to notice this as well, his nostrils now picking up the overpowering smell of her arousal as his very own sheath began to poke out, blood quickly pumping into the sexual organ.
He stopped his assault, focusing on the last stretch of clothing as he put his hands beneath the thin top. Xalah obliged, putting her arms above her head as Robert lifted the tank top off, tossing the fabric to the other side of the room.
Finally, she was truly naked before him, an arms crossed below her breasts as she raised her hand, gesturing a 'come here' with a finger.
He didn't even hesitate, immediately clearing the tiny space between them as he wrapped his hands around her rump, eliciting an excited hiss from her mouth as he lifted her. Xalah shifted her coils into a bridal style carry, wrapping her arms around his hood. She could feel his reptilian length rub against her hip, making her breathing increase and coils shift.
"... Where to?" Robert rasped.
Xalah paused. "My bed is in the back."
He nodded, carrying her past one of the doors. The bed given for Xalah seemed to be adjusted for her, judging by the extended length of the furniture. However soon it would have to be put to the test as Robert plopped her down on it.
She didn't hesitate, wrapping her tail around his as she rested her hands over her hood, looking up at him huskily. "I am ready for you..."
Robert smiled, his length now fully engorged as it rubbed against her scales. His coils shifted against her's, all he would need to do would be-
And then pain shot up from his waist, making him hiss out as he put a hand on his hip. Xalah immediately taking notice as she rose her upper body from the bed.
"Robert! Are you okay?!"
"Y-Yeah." Robert hissed as he looked down at his bandage, the pain now lightly stinging. "I guess my wound is still healing..."
Xalah paused, a worried expression her face. Robert looked at her, realizing the position from their first courting would be impossible, yet at the same time, they were both completely ready regardless.
So he made a compromise.
"Guess you're on top Xalah."
She froze, her eyes widening in realization. "A-Are you sure my King? What if I accidentally touch your bandage-"
"Xalah. I wouldn't ask if I didn't trust you." He softly caressed her serpentine face, "I trust you."
The Viper stared at him before she nodded, placing a hand on his chest.
Robert obeyed, allowing her to guide him as he rested against the bed. She slithered on top quickly, making sure to avoid his bandage as her coils slowly entwined with his own, her hood looking down in concentration as Robert felt her excitement drip onto his scales.
He had to stifle a hiss as he felt her wet slit rub against the underside of his shaft, she felt so incredibly warm.
She placed both hands on his shoulder, using him as support as she lifted her lower body, positioning her slit above his length. There was a lengthy pause, as Robert tilted his head.
"Xalah, it's okay, you can-"
And then she dropped down, making him sputter a hiss as her tunnel enveloped his length. Immediately Robert could feel her walls constrict around his sheath like last time, clamping tightly as he gritted his fangs.
Xalah on the other hand, let out a moan as she felt him penetrate her deeply, his length softly stretching her insides as her fluids began to drip onto Robert's scales.
There was another pause, the two of them simply adjusting to the feeling of each other. It felt like their first time all over again, except this time both parties knew exactly what they were doing.
"Shall I continue?" Xalah asked in a breathless rasp.
Robert merely hissed, "G-Go for it."
She nodded, her coils squirming as her strong snake like muscles went to work. Robert sucked a breath in as he felt her contractions run up his cock, stimulating it to an impossible degree. His breath was then released as she plopped herself down again, forcing another hiss from his mouth.
"A-Ah..." Xalah moaned softly as she began to ride him slowly, loud slaps being heard as her slit met the base of Robert's cock.
The two of them looked at each other through half lidded eyes, Robert slightly rising his upper body with the support of his elbows as his gaze kept on her, staring into her eyes as he held back a groan.
Xalah fell down again before pausing, her coils slowly constricting around his own tightly as Robert hissed in surprise.
He didn't have time to question before she slammed down again, this time her plump vulva practically kissing the base of his sheath constantly as quick slaps could be heard. Robert's jaw hung agape, his strong hands having to now grasp her hips in order to steady her as she truly rode him. His air being forced out as he felt her gyrate her hips every so often, something which drove him crazy.
He looked up, a dazed look in her eyes as a lust filled smile grew on her jaw.
"Touch me, please..."
How the fuck could he say no to that face?
His claws went up, fondling her breasts as her jaw opened in a smile, the feeling of his cold fingers probing her scales adding to more to the sensations. They continued their fevered lovemaking, Robert deforming the scaly mounds with enthusiasm. He was pretty sure his wound was being touched at this point but it hardly even mattered, he was too pleasured to even think about pain.
Robert groaned out before his eyes narrowed, a strange instinct overcoming him as he grabbed hold hold of her hands and brought them to her side. Xalah looked at him with surprise before he pulled her down and pushed his lower coils up, slamming his cock deep within her as Xalah let out a loud yelp. He had hit her G-spot with ease, and was now doing it repeatedly, loud squelches of her juices now beginning to leak out onto his scales.
It carried on for a few more seconds before he could feel the familiar pulsating within his cock due to the overwhelming stimulation, the sign of an imminent orgasm.
"X-Xalah, I-I can't hold for long." Robert admitted through gritted fangs, trying to resist the urge of release.
However Xalah looked him straight in the eyes before placing her hands on his chest, feeling the cold smooth scales her lover possessed. "T-Then don't, just release yourself... I want to feel you inside..."
He thrusted upwards just as she slammed down, both of them letting out a cacophony of moans as their bodies let go, with Xalah's climax leading a chain reaction as Robert felt her insides practically strangling his length, ruthlessly milking his reptilian cock as his emissions shot out constantly, staining her opening white before dripping out onto his own scales and adding to the mess of fluids.
They both panted, trying to keep their breathing steady as they stared each other in the eyes, Xalah resting her coils against his as she held him close.
"Elders... That felt... Too good." She said between pants, to which Robert let out a strained chuckle.
"I think you made my bandage come loose."
Her eyes widened, "Did I?"
Robert merely responded by leaning his hood forward, kissing her passionately as her eyes widened before closing, the two basking in the blissful afterglow. He broke off, giving her a smile.
The two of them fell asleep in each other's coils.
Mirna was deep in thought when she had arrived back at the compound, now halfway through her meal as she ate. Slowly, a plan began to formulate within her mind, developing bit by bit as she gulped down her food.
As soon as she was finished, she slithered quickly to the passageway. Only a few of her sisters were already preparing to sleep, already out of their armor.
She froze, turning her hood to see Aadya waiting by the door. The smaller Viper immediately attempted to slither away only for Aadya to slither in front of her.
"Mirna please, at least talk to me!"
The Viper looked up with a glare, "About what? There is nothing to talk about."
Aadya held a remorseful look. "I just wanted to say that I'm sorry. I didn't know they would put her down and I only wanted to protect you."
"Tell that to the brethren that we lost today." Mirna hissed before slithering past. Aadya froze, a look of anger developing on her serpentine features as she roughly placed a hand on Mirna's shoulder.
"Damn it Mirna! Do you not think I feel horrible about all of this?! I have seen our brethren die before, do you not think it kills me inside!?"
Mirna paused, still facing away. "I know... I know exactly how you feel. I lost two of my most closest sisters over the course of a week. Xalah...-" She turned her hood back, "-And you... Goodnight Aadya."
She then slithered away, taking off her armor and resting inside her pod.
Aadya stood there, her hand turning into a clenched fist.
All the Viper's had fallen asleep within their pods when the night progressed, all of them with the exception of Mirna.
The Viper was wide awake, staring at the foggy glass as a look of determination came onto her face. Her fingers slowly tinkering next to the edges of the metal before she heard a click.
She had done it.
The pod door opened silently, the Viper slithering out slowly as she opened her locker, taking out her armor and weapon.
Mirna had ran the plan through her mind over and over again, ever since she had gotten on the APC. Now all there was to do was to enact it as she slipped on the armor and silently slithered out of the room.
There would be guards and turrets of course, but the latter expected an entry from outside and the former wasn't coded to Viper DNA.
So without further ado, she went into the small courtyard and reached the red holographic fences, slithering past before disappearing into the forest
Xalah's eyes slowly opened as she blinked, her hands resting on Robert's chest. She looked up, noticing the male was wide awake as he looked down at her with a smile.
"Hope you ssslept well." Robert rasped in a smooth tone.
She yawned, smiling as she dug her face into his chest.
"Mmm. Of course I did."
Xalah wrapped her arms around his back and holding him close. Robert smiled before he attempted to slither out of her grasp only for her to tighten both her grip and coils around his, holding him still.
"No. Ssstay." She said possessively, closing her eyes.
Robert chuckled, his tongue hissing with amusement. "Well. I guess someone's not getting breakfast."
Xalah immediately opened her eyes, lifting her head off his chest to look at his face. "Breakfast?"
"Yep. Unless that sssomeone lets me go."
She paused, considering her options before uncoiling. "Fine. You may leave."
Robert's form slithered off the bed and onto the floor, slowly picking up his giant hoodie and putting it on his scales. Xalah watched him, her jaw resting on her arm as she laid on the bed.
"I shall be busy today. Your superiors have some new things I must decode. Make sure you come back as soon as possible... My King."
The male Viper smiled before he noticed the husky look she gave him as her heavy breasts squished against the fabric of the bed. For a second, Robert was unsure if she hungered for food... Or for him.
"Y-Yes Ma'am..." Robert rasped before quickly slithering away.
Aadya stared forward, the Viper's face twisted in a frown. Her breathran stood at attention too, yet they whispered amongst each other, confused as they casted glances at the elephant in the room.
Mirna's pod had been found empty.
She had been the first to report it after she had woken up and soon after an Officer arrived, inspecting the empty pod as he turned his head back to Aadya.
"So you can confirm this 25038C?" The Officer asked, "That 26395C left in the middle of the night?"
Aadya nodded, "Indeed, I have ample reason to believe that 26395C deserted us."
"And what reason would that be?"
She paused, "She... Could not handle the stress of battle."
The Officer nodded, looking back at the pod "I see." He then typed a few commands in his gauntlet, "Then I suppose a promotion is in order. You shall be leading a force to capture and bring her back. Then she can be judged by the Elders for her transgression."
"... You honor me Superior."
He waved her away, "Yes, yes. Now get going. I've already assembled a formidable amount of Troopers to aid you. Do not screw this up." He then walked away, "Elders guide us."
"Elders guide us." Aadya simply repeated, grabbing her beam rifle from her locker. A few of her sisters came up to her, confused expressions on their faces.
"Aadya, what's going on? What happened to Mirna?"
Aadya glared, "She betrayed us, betrayed us all."
"Mirna? But she would never-"
"Silence! That is not her name anymore. Not to me." Aadya hissed through gritted fangs before slithering away, leaving her sisters as they glanced at her with worried expressions.
As soon as Aadya left the room she paused, her chest heaving as she put a hand to her face, wiping away the tears that developed at the edge of her eyes. All of the anger she harbored yesterday had seemingly disappeared within the course of seconds, now all that remained was the crushing void of sadness. She then calmed her emotions, looking back up.
"I am enacting the Elder's will." Aadya whispered to herself before slithering on, boarding the VTOL at the front of the compound, the transport lifting off quickly as it was followed by three more.
"Okay so, imagine this. You're in a room with a gun that has two bullets. Hitler, Bin Laden, and the Speaker, are also in the room. Who do you shoot and why?" Madison asked, the Texan sitting next to Dimitri and Amir as the two played a round of street fighter. Mox sat with them as well, a cask on the defector's arm as he tilted his head at the question.
The Trooper then shrugged, "Why not just line them up? Would that not be the efficient tactic if eliminating them all is the desirable outcome in this situation?"
"Because that defeats the purpose of the question." Madison explained, "I would shoot the Speaker for sure, and then I'd shoot him AGAIN. Lemme tell ya, I absolutely hate that fucking piece of-"
The elevator opened as Robert slithered in, a smile on his serpentine face.
"Robert! You son of a bitch!" Madison said before smiling, "So I'm gonna take a guess and say that you got lucky with Xalah?"
The Viper paused, "What... Makes you say that?"
Madison rolled his eyes, "Uh, I dunno? Maybe 'cause ya didn't show up back at the barracks to sleep last night? Or the fact that you smell like an unwashed snake tank? Take your pick."
"Oh..." Robert scratched the back of his hood, "Damn, I should take a ssshower."
"Yeah ya should." Madison said before looking back at the tv, "I already made some breakfast tacos for you and Xalah, grab 'em while they're hot."
"Thanks, lemme just-"
"Huesos!" Dimitri yelled, throwing the controller down. "How do you always fucking beat me!? Is luck I tell you!"
"Skill." Amir murmured, still focused on the screen, his head bandage now removed.
"Luck, luck, LU-!"
Eliza immediately came out of the bathroom, clearly angered. "Can you both shut the hell up!? I'm trying to wash my face here!"
The two stopped, sitting silently like angels. Eliza mumbled angrily before noticing the Viper in the room.
"By the way Robert. Bradford sent a message. He wanted to see you as soon as possible."
Robert froze, already remembering the events of yesterday. "Oh... Understood. I'll get right to it." He then paused, His nostrils then sniffed at his scales, "Right after I take a shower..."
Already, Mirna's scales began to ache from slithering so much. Within the course of 6 hours she had passed two biomes. First the expansive forest, then an abandoned urban sprawl that used to be a human town, and now she was in the process of ducking beneath the tall grass of the plains that she had found herself in.
She slithered a bit further before hearing a nearby stream of water, her mouth thirsting as she quickly followed the noise. Sure enough, a small river ran through the grass as the Viper stooped low, taking great big gulps of water before looking up. She could see a few bovine creatures on the other side. Bison she believed they were called, now noticing her presence.
They stared at her as Mirna as she stared back before the Bisons looked away, deeming her as a non-threat as they grazed on the grass. Mirna paused before sighing, laying back and watching the creatures frolick.
Admittedly, she didn't have a clue of what to do once she had escaped ADVENT, and worst of all, she would never get to see her sisters again. But at the there was no way she would go on another mission, not after what had transpired. She would learn to live out here, doing whatever it takes to survive.
She'd live on.
Mirna was broken from her thoughts as the Bison on the other side grunted loudly, clearly alarmed by something before trotting away, leaving the Viper to herself. Mirna paused before turning her head, her green eyes widening.
A red spek was on the horizon, slowly getting closer and closer. An ADVENT carrier, and there was no doubt that they were looking for her.
Mirna quickly slithered into the tall grass, her eyes wide with fear.
Robert knocked on the metal door, diligently waiting as he held a box of tacos by his side, awkwardly looking around with his long hood. The Viper was thinking of all of the possible punishments, from confined to barracks or a deranking. He didn't like either of those outcomes
The door opened as Robert slithered in before pausing.
Lily was there, as well as Dr. Richard as the two watched him silently. Bradford and the commander were currently standing next to a screen, turning their heads to Robert.
"There you are operative. We need to have a talk."
Robert hung his hood down, "I know..."
Bradford shook his head. "It's not about that. The Spokesman would like to have a word with you."
"The Spokesman?" Robert asked before noticing a figure on the screen, his face completely obscured by shadow as his hands rested on a dark desk. The figure then spoke, his voice gravily yet smooth.
"Robert Carter I assume?"
Robert slithered closely before nodding in an unsure fashion. "That's me, Sssir."
The Spokesman seemed to lean forward in the darkness, as if inspecting the Viper from behind the screen. He then leaned back, his face still unseeable as he emitted a low chuckle. "Even I must admit, you are quite the surreal sight. But I've read of your exploits and needless to say... I'm impressed. You chose to make the most of your new form and in turn, continued fighting for the resistance."
"Thank you, Sir." Robert hissed.
"However, I must ask you something Robert Carter."
The figure rested a hand on the dark table. "How much do you know of Viper culture? I have intel that you have a... Loved one that used to be a Viper working for ADVENT. Did you happen to know any info?"
Robert paused, "Honestly, Sir... What I do know is what they have a lack of. ADVENT does not treat Viper kind any better than us, they're just trained and bred to be better soldiers for ADVENT... Yet their purpose is still the same, to die in battle."
"Interesting... Is there anything else you wish to add?"
"Well..." Robert coughed, "Apparently the males of their race went extinct, or so ADVENT told them. So to them, I'm like a mythical creature I guess. Xalah literally switched sides just to protect me from a Berserker."
That seemed to get the Spokesman's attention.
"Just as Bradford told me. Your presence seems to inspire mistrust in the Viper sect of ADVENT..."
Robert nodded before a question came to his head, "Wait, why did you want to ask about all that before?"
The Spokesman paused, "Robert... Do you believe it is possible that the Viper's would ever turn on ADVENT?"
Robert froze, already knowing what the Spokesman was implying. "Wow... Well um...-"
"Sir! The decipher was able to decode another message. There's a influx of ADVENT activity near us."
"Xalah's been busy..." Robert thought.
Bradford turned his head, the Commander as well. "A routine patrol?"
"Um... No, Sir. According to the intercepted intel they're... Trying to catch a deserter?"
"A deserter?" Bradford asked, looking at the Commander. "One of Betos's people?"
"Not sure." The technician typed in a few commands. "But they have two VTOLs landing nearby, close to uncovering our position."
Bradford nodded before turning his head to the Spokesman, "I'm sorry to cut this short, Sir. But we're gonna have to deal with this problem first. We'll contact you again as soon as possible."
"Understood." The Spokesman said, "Keep up the good work." He then seemed to turn his head to the scrawny man, "And good luck... Commander."
The link then shut off, leaving the screen blank.
Bradford immediately turned his head to the Viper, "Robert. I'm sending you and squad Charlie. Your main objective will be to Ambush this group, your secondary will be to figure out who this deserter is and rescue. Good hunting."
Robert nodded before Bradford spoke up again.
"Before you go, Dragunova told me the situation yesterday, so I'm only letting you off with a warning. But anything like that again and you can be sure there'll be a punishment. Are we clear?"
"Yes, Sir. Thank you, Sir." Robert rasped as he saluted before slithering out of the room, passing a happy glance from Lily as he waved back.
As soon as the Viper left the room, Robert realized he still held the box of tacos in his sleek hands.
Mirna scrambled to reach the forest that rested at the end of the plains, the Viper panting with exhaustion as she held onto her beam rifle. She had been slithering all night, and now her body was beginning to pay for it.
She looked back to see the VTOL getting closer by the second, it's red lights now seeable as she slithered faster. They had definitely seen her if the direction of the transport indicated anything.
The Viper turned her head back only to freeze.
Another VTOL had already landed at the front of the forest, a few Trooper's already spotting her as they shouted. She hissed a curse as she turned tail, fleeing only to see that the first one had now caught up, alighting against the ground as a few more Trooper's came out.
And then her heart sank when she saw Aadya, the veteran glaring at her as she slithered off the transport.
"Oh no..." She hissed, attempting to slither back only to see a few Trooper's now coming up the slope, weapons drawn.
She had been surrounded, the only thing now separating her and the Trooper's being the small outcropping.
"26395C!" She heard Aadya yell, "Turn yourself in to face the Elder's judgement for your desertion!"
Mirna turned her head, anger now coming to the smaller Viper's face. "I-I will never return to that forsaken compound Aadya!" And that was the truth, there was no way she was heading back to the compound, at least not alive.
"Mirna,-" Now Aadya was saying her name, "-Don't be stupid! There's no chance you can escape from us!"
The younger Viper froze before she took out her beam rifle, "Then I'll find a way."
She then fired upon the approaching Trooper's, ducking lowely against the ground as the Aadya hissed out.
Robert sighed as he looked down at the box of Tacos. He had planned on giving them to Xalah, yet when he had stopped by her room, she wasn't there. Regardless, he had boarded the Skyranger with his squad, with the addition of Amir and the subtraction of Mox due to the Trooper's broken arm.
It was back to the original format he supposed, with Amir conversing with Eliza as Dimitri tinkered with his mag cannon.
He turned his head to Madison who had a smile on his face, practically vibrating within his buckles.
"What's got you so happy Madison?" Robert asked.
"Didn't you see 'em!?"
Madison turned his head, "Firebrand's installed a few rocket pods on the sides of this beauty, command reckoned we'd need to strike before we land."
"Oh... Huh." Robert rasped as he put a hand on his large jaw in thought.
Firebrand then spoke up on the radio, "Command, I've got eyes on a firefight. ADVENT appear to be firing on a... Viper?"
Now that caught everyone off guard, especially Robert as he hissed in curiosity.
"Copy that Firebrand. That must be the defector that the intel was talking about." Bradford then relayed an order, "Move in to assist Firebrand, take out their VTOL's."
The pilot chuckled, "With pleasure."
Madison turned his head to Robert, "Looks like Xalah isn't the only Viper defector if Firebrand is seein' right."
"Seem's so..." Robert mused, the words of the Spokesman coming to mind.
The Viper then placed the box aside, taking his ipod out as he put his earphones on. A song began to play, the Viper smiling upon recognizing it.
Ballroom Blitz, by Sweet.
Mirna was forced to now take cover in a small outcropping of rocks, the mag fire from the soldiers obliterating what little cover she had slithered to. Yet despite the hopelessness of the situation, she oddly felt at ease.
She wasn't dying in the name of those that saw her nothing more than a tool. That alone was a good enough reason for her.
The Viper narrowed her eyes as she heard a low droning in the sky.
She turned her head, an unmarked air transport sped over the plains. Aadya saw the incoming transport as well, the Loyalist's eyes widening.
Upon saying that, the transport fired off a speeding projectile, striking one of the VTOLs as the ADVENT transport blew up in a fiery haze. The insurgent craft flew over, Mirna lifting her head to watch it swerve, showing off the familiar X symbol of the Human rebellion.
A few Troopers had opened fire, their mag fire bouncing off the tough armor off the transport as it barely laid a dent. The other ADVENT VTOL attempted to take off from the ground before a rocket struck it's midsection, knocking the vehicle out of the air as it crashed onto the ground.
Mirna watched as the dropship opened up, the ADVENT troopers diverting their focus. She would have watched more were it not for the dangerous beam of plasma nearly striking her face and obliterating the rest of her cover.
She saw Aadya, a furious expression on the Viper's face as she slowly slithered forward.
The smaller Viper grasped onto her weapon before moving towards the grass, Aadya firing another shot as the beam narrowly missed her.
"Go! Go! Go!" Eliza yelled as everybody descended from the rappel lines.
"It was like lightning!"
Dimitri was the first on the ground, followed by Amir as the Russian fire. The psi-operative on the other hand, used his amplifier to create a protective dome for the rest of the team.
"Everybody was frightening!"
Madison took out a cross from behind his armor and kissed it, running up to the rappel and dropping down. Robert slithered after him, the black Viper putting his weapon on his back before wrapping his coils around the rope, allowing him to gently let gravity do the work.
"And the music was soothing!"
Finally, Eliza landed, brandishing her weapon before giving the signal.
"And they all started grooving!"
They fired as one, dropping the first line of covering Troopers as Mag fire filled the air. The rest of ADVENT had fallen back, deeper into the plains as Xcom pursued.
"And the man in the back said everyone attack and it turned into a ballroom blitz! And the girl in the corner said boy I want to warn you it'll turn into a ballroom bli-"
Robert disconnected his earphones, focusing his reptilian gaze on a few flanking Troopers as they attempted to hide in the long grass. He simply lowered his gauss rifle, tapping Dimitri on the shoulder as the Russian noticed, turning his cannon to fire.
The grass was utterly destroyed, as were the Troopers that attempted to hide within it.
"Good work!" Eliza yelled out, "Robert, vanguard our flanks! We'll spearhead the front."
Robert nodded as the Viper went into the tall grass to keep overwatch.
Mirna ducked, narrowly avoiding another shot from Aadya. The small Viper slithering away as she attempted to escape. She was about to reach the long grass before Aadya shot again, cleaving the top of the foliage.
"There is nowhere left to go Mirna." Aadya said before raising her beam rifle, "This is the end."
The smaller Viper paused before turning around.
"Then do it. Put me down. Just like what that officer did."
Her brethren hissed, "Do not speak of that."
"How can I not!? After all that has happened?!" Mirna continued, "That's what we are to them. Tools. Weapons. Easily disposable in the eyes of the Elders." She then opened her arms, dropping her weapon. "So shoot me. I would rather be killed by a sister then be tossed away when I'm broken."
Aadya seemed to hesitate, the grip on her gun shaking. It seemed like an eternity before the loyalist lowered her weapon, hanging her hood down.
"I know..." She looked up, "I've been on so many missions Mirna. Too many. Missions that have kept me awake in my pod at night." She hissed a sigh, "May the Elders have mercy on my soul." She turned her head, "Go, I'll hold the insurgents off."
"Aadya..." Mirna said, now having a change of heart for her former comrade. "I'm not going to leave you anymore."
"You must or you will die." Aadya stated.
Mirna paused, "Maybe neither of us have to."
And then she raised her hands, yelling out using one of the Human languages.
"Don't shoot! We surrender!"
Aadya immediately grabbed her hand, her face seething. "What are you doing!?"
"I'm saving us both." Mirna simply said before turning again, "We're over here! Don't shoot us!"
"Mirna you can't! The insurgent's, they'll-!"
And then a figure came into view, alongside three others as they climbed up from behind the rocks, pointing mag weapons at the two Vipers. A Human, weilding a mag cannon came up to the two of them as he spoke up in an accented voice.
"Freeze! Which one of you is defector?!"
Mirna blinked in surprise. How did they know that ADVENT had a defector? Did it really only take them 5 hours to figure that out?
She was about to respond before she noticed Aadya's stance, her tail raised from the back as she silently hissed. The tell tale sign of a Viper about to strike.
"Aadya no!" Mirna yelled as her brethren's tongue shot out, grabbing the nearby Human by the neck before coiling around him, holding a beam rifle to his head.
The three other insurgents moved forward, the dark skinned female of the squad looking completely enraged as her teeth were gritted, her shard gun pointing at Aadya.
"Let him go you bitch!"
Aadya bared her fangs at the Human, pressing the gun on the Insurgent's head.
"For my kin."
Time seemed to slow down as Mirna watched her brethren squeeze the trigger.
And then a large shape came from behind the tall grass, grabbing the top of Aadya's beam rifle before turning it, the weapon firing to the sky. The veteran hissed in surprised as she felt cold hands throw her down on the ground, the Human slipping away from her coils. She attempted to thrash violently against the unknown assailant before she felt the strangely cold coils of another Viper begin to hold her steady, a mag pistol pressed against her hood.
Mirna's eyes widened, as did Aadya's as the veteran tilted her eyes upward.
Another Viper, scales as black as midnight and eyes as blue as the deep sea.
It then spoke to the Human that had escaped Aadya's coils.
"You okay Dimitri?"
She immediately knew... Just by the tone and the look alone...
This Viper was a male.
Mirna had remembered when she was taught the way of the Elders, how the males of her species had died out because for their blasphemy against the Elders. Yet here was one, right in front of her. She could tell Aadya must have been thinking the same thing, the veteran mumbling a gasp.
Dimtri nodded, "Da. No thanks to you comrade."
The male turned to her, noticing the shock on her face.
"... Is she okay?" He asked.
And then everything caught up to her. The fighting, the escape, and finally the impossible as the info overloaded her brain, forcing her eyes to roll up into her head as Mirna slumped down, fainting on the spot.
There was a long pause before Madison came up to the defector, feeling the alien's pulse.
"Don't worry, she's just out cold." He then turned his head, "What do we do with the other one. She sure as hell isn't a defector."
Eliza walked forward, narrowing her eyes down at the downed Viper. Robert watched the squad leaders expression before looking down at the Viper named Aadya, her bright orange eyes still looking up at him as her jaw was shut against the ground.
The Ranger turned around, putting a hand to her ear.
"Command. We've found the defector, she's unconscious but other then that she's fine." She then looked back at Aadya, "And... We got a prisoner too. Another Viper. She tried to take one of my men hostage."
There was a long pause before Bradford spoke up, "Copy that. Extract both subjects back to base."
Eliza nodded before turning her head, looking down at Aadya, the Viper now turning her gaze back to the Ranger as Amir came up next to her.
"How will we keep her in check?"
The Ranger paused before turning her head to Dimitri. "Can I borrow your harness soldier?"
Dimitri nodded, taking off the harness for one of his bandoliers before handing it to Eliza. The Ranger immediately began to unclip certain segments before looping and reassembling it. By the time she was finished, it looked like a dog muzzle.
"Hold her still Robert."
The black Viper nodded as Aadya's eyes widened, the female immediately thrashing against his coils as she attempted to say something.
"N-No!" She mumbled in panic.
He strengthened his hold, a conflicted feeling developing within his gut as he held the pistol. The Viper would have killed Dimitri seconds ago and now she was giving him the most vulnerable and confused look he had ever seen. It didn't help that he could feel her heart beating beneath his scales, almost like a scared animal.
However her thrashing continued and it was getting increasingly difficult to hold her still as Eliza attempted to put on the muzzle.
Robert looked up, holstering his pistol and placing both hands on her hood.
"Eliza. Let me do it."
The Ranger paused before nodding, handing the harness to the male Viper. Robert looked back down at her as he took a hand from her hood, leaving one hand to keep her against the ground. He then leaned down, pressing his chest against her back softly, using his free hand to gently hold onto her shoulder. That seemed to make her freeze up, a look of even more confusion beginning to grow on her face as the struggle died within her.
And then, fast as lightning, Robert secured the harness on her maw as she hissed in surprise, her eyes showing betrayal as she looked up at him.
"There. That ssshould it." Robert said as he looked at the Texan, "Hey Madison, you have any cable ti-"
He noticed everybody was staring at him.
They averted their gaze as Madison coughed, "Ah, yeah. Right. Here ya go."
The male Viper took it, putting both of Aadya's hands together and cuffing them. He then raised her up, taking out his pistol again and pushing it against her back.
"Prisoner secured." Robert announced.
Eliza nodded, turning her head to Dimitri and Madison. "You two. Extract the defector."
They both nodded, holding the small Viper up like a log as Firebrand landed, opening up a ramp seeing as how it would be hard to rappel backup.
Robert pushed the pistol against Aadya's back, the Viper looking back at him as they both slithered up the ramp.
He had expected a look of hatred or confusion.
But he was instead caught off guard as her eyes showed a distinct longing.
The male Viper blinked before shaking his head, gesturing her to look forward as she hissed from behind her makeshift muzzle.
Robert didn't know what was going to happen when they arrived back at the Avenger, but he had a gut feeling that things were about to get a whole lot more interesting.