Note: In the first part of the chapter at T. Hawk's residence, they're speaking Spanish, hence the "quotes". Later on, if it's 'like this', it's a character's thoughts.
T. Hawk's residence, Thunderfoot village, shortly after the meeting
"I thought the meeting went well, all things considered," El Fuerte said with a shrug as he sipped his hot chocolate. He appreciated the blend of chili powder, vanilla, and cinnamon along with the bittersweet chocolate. He much preferred this version compared to the American style. The latter was far too sweet, in his opinion, and overpowered the chocolate.
T. Hawk and Julia had invited both Noembelu and the Mexican wrestler-chef to their house for an after-dinner refreshment. The four sat at a small table with their drinks and a heaping plate of tortilla chips surrounding a bowl of guacamole. Julia was busy munching on a chip piled with the dip.
It made the chieftain happy to see his wife enjoying the guacamole, knowing full well how much she loved avocados in general. Therefore, it was hardly a surprise that the savory green dip was one of her favorite foods. He also realized that she was eating more than usual due to the pregnancy. It was a welcome reminder their household would add another member to the family.
It had been Julia who thought of the idea to invite both El Fuerte and Noembelu over. She enjoyed the former's company and strongly suspected that he was interested in courting her friend. Given that the latter hadn't exactly resisted his advances, Julia assumed the interest was mutual. So far, nothing had occurred to disabuse her of this notion.
'We've both lost so much time while under Shadaloo's influence,' Julia thought sadly. 'We're now playing catch up with the rest of our lives. I'm glad to see Noembelu adjusting to regular life.'
T. Hawk grunted in response to El Fuerte, causing Julia to turn her head towards her husband's direction. He was gazing stone-faced at his drink. She had a pretty good idea what he was thinking and didn't blame him. As far as she was concerned, Juri had caused quite a disruption at the meeting. His response confirmed her suspicions.
"Hmph, I don't like having to rely on Juri for that information," T. Hawk replied before taking a sip of the hot chocolate. He considered Cammy's earlier description of Juri quite apt. The spirits had definitely left that woman. "She's indeed too much of a loose cannon."
He glanced over to both Julia and Noembelu, their expressions turning blank when he mentioned the ex-S.I.N. agent. It was hardly a secret to him that both women disliked Juri. If that woman ever considered harming his wife again...
"However, her information is sound," he grudgingly admitted. "Tolerating her...antics for a few days is a small price to pay for the chance of ridding our people of this Shadaloo menace."
"It's a good thing Cammy was able to enlist Karin Kanzuki's support," Noembelu added. "Those transport helicopters will help us greatly."
T. Hawk nodded slowly. There was very little chance they'd be able to mount an operation on that base without air transport. The terrain was too rugged for a march and the few dirt paths etched into the mountain ranges could hardly accommodate a column of vehicles. But what would be the price of that support? Although the Kanzuki Zaibatsu was hardly Shadaloo, would they be ultimately substituting one master for another? It concerned him more than a little.
"Yes, that is-" he began, but was cut off by the chime on his smartphone. When he checked it, his eyebrows raised as he noted the caller. Talk about the timing...
"Speak of the devil, Karin Kanzuki is calling."
T. Hawk hit the smartphone's answer button and took a deep breath. What on earth did she want? Had she changed her mind regarding the helicopters? Perhaps add conditions to her support?
"Hello, Miss Kanzuki, it's been a long time," he addressed her in English with a slight shake of his head. There was no reason to jump to conclusions. Better to hear her out.
"Good evening, Chieftain Thunder Hawk," Karin responded smoothly. "Yes, it certainly has. I sincerely hope I wasn't interrupting anything."
T. Hawk looked around the table at the others for a moment before answering, taking in their questioning glances. What did she want?
"It's no problem. What can I do for you? I'm glad you called. I wanted to thank you for lending your helicopters to our cause."
There was a momentary pause before she answered. Perhaps it wasn't about the helicopters after all.
"Oh, yes, the request made by Cammy. It's not a problem at all. I'm glad I could help. Fortunately, I'm not constrained by international treaties. They can be quite messy and rather tedious at times. However, it would admittedly have been a bit problematic justifying British military aircraft in Mexican airspace. That isn't why I'm calling though. I have a favor to ask of you."
T. Hawk nodded slowly. Of course. He had realized that Karin's support wouldn't be free. Now, for the price tag...
"If it's within my means."
"It's a small request, I assure you. I have an agent, his name is Zeku, who will be arriving at your village soon. It would be much appreciated if you grant him passage to your village. I'd rather not say why over this connection, but he'll provide more information when he arrives. It explains everything..."
Shadaloo Base, somewhere in the Sierra Madres, the following evening
"You mean I have to eat this shit cold?" Juri asked, staring with distaste at her British Army 24-Hour-Ration Pack. She was holding a large plastic pouch labelled Spicy Pork Sausage. She wrinkled her nose. "I wanna heat this up."
"We've gone over this already, Juri," Cammy sounded exasperated as she grabbed her 'spork' and dug in. "We're too near to that base to start a fire. The last thing we need at this point is someone noticing the smoke. Besides, the food isn't that bad and it's only for a couple of days."
Cammy gave her a sidelong glance, chewing and swallowing a mouthful of her Chicken Curry dinner before continuing. She followed it up with some well-deserved sarcasm.
"Besides, I thought you said you could handle being in our outfit? This is standard eating most of the time when we're in the field."
The verbal jab scored a bullseye. Juri's eyes momentarily turned into slits before grumpily tearing open her pouch and sniffed, prompting Cammy to roll her eyes before scooping out another sporkful of chicken curry.
"Smells ok, I guess," Juri reluctantly admitted, before driving her spork into the pouch. She put it in her mouth, chewing slowly and made a face. "It would be way better heated...and if this is their idea of spicy, it's freaking pathetic."
Cammy shrugged and shook her head as she took a sip of strawberry flavored energy drink from her plastic mug. She really didn't care what Juri thought of the meal. As long as the food wasn't horrible (and it wasn't), the rations would give them the energy needed to remain in the field for a few days.
A few days...if the two hadn't killed each other in that time, it would be a miracle.
Prior to leaving London, the British operative had contacted Karin Kanzuki for a favor. After poring over images of northwestern Mexico, Cammy knew that they'd have to undertake any reconnaissance by air. There was no way they'd be able to find the Shadaloo base otherwise.
The use of the Royal Air Force in Mexican airspace without their permission was impossible, which was why Cammy considered Karin. The Japanese tycoon had the advantage of assets within the country (which included a small fleet of aircraft) that could be used without the problems of setting off an undesired international incident.
Well, at least, reducing that risk significantly. The fact that she was even going to Mexico as an undercover military operative was a potential problem, and one that could cause major diplomatic issues if discovered. There had been some diplomatic fallout with Brazil after Cammy had injured several law enforcement officers there several years ago during the Black Moons Crisis. The British Foreign Office had to issue an apology to Brazil while Cammy was quietly reprimanded for her actions. However, the Special Forces branch had been pleased to gain a group of highly skilled specialists in the Dolls to add to their ranks.
Karin had accepted the request wholeheartedly, with but one condition; that the British operative visit her in Japan afterwards for several days to 'discuss a few small matters.' She could even bring her Delta Red colleagues along if she desired, since it would likely involve them as well.
The vagueness of the request had come as a surprise to Cammy, particularly with regards to her team. Whatever Karin wanted though, it had to be important. The Kanzuki Zaibatsu head wasn't one to waste time with whimsical fancies.
'No, that's not her style at all,' Cammy had thought at the time after agreeing to the proposal. 'She definitely has a reason for the request. My guess is that it's pretty serious. The last time she called on me, Shadaloo was about to undertake a major offensive.'
The team had arrived in Mexico without incident and picked up their equipment and supplies ferried over via one of Karin's transport services. That was when Cammy had met up with Karin's trusted aide, Shibasaki.
"My lady apologizes for not being here in person, but unfortunately, her attention is needed elsewhere at the moment," he had told Cammy. He confirmed what the British operative suspected. "However, the matter which she wishes to speak to you about is of the utmost significance."
"Of course. I'm grateful for the support she's given regarding the current situation," Cammy had answered. "It's not a stretch to say that without her assistance, this mission wouldn't have even gotten off the ground. Please tell Karin that, once again, I appreciate her help and that I'll be in Japan as soon as this business is concluded."
Between her arrival in Mexico and the current recon mission, Cammy hadn't experienced any problems with making her way through the country. However, she had been filled with some trepidation when Juri had insisted on coming along.
As soon as Juri provided the coordinates, Cammy contacted her direct superior, Colonel Wolfman, in London with a request for satellite images of the Shadaloo base's position. The colonel had called in some favors and several hours later, Cammy had firm intelligence of the vicinity in question.
The base was within a low mountain range in the Sierra Madres Occidental (western). From the imagery, Cammy and the team could make out an entrance, which was likely a tunnel into the range and a road or track running through the valley in front of the entrance. There was also a small airfield with a control tower as well as several nearby smaller structures, which Cammy surmised to be maintenance buildings.
However, on the other side of the range, a small but clearly man-made structure could be made out, but partially hidden under some woodland. It was so innocuous that they almost missed it. Luckily, Fevrier had spotted it in time. The odd randomness of the location meant that it would have high priority surveillance.
Given the divergent points which needed observation at the same time, Cammy had broken the team into three pairs. Noembelu and Decapre would watch the airfield while Enero and Fevrier kept an eye on the base's main entrance. Cammy decided that she and Juri would cover the unknown structure on the far side of the mountain range. There was no way she could or would leave Juri with anyone else. The dispersion of her team wasn't ideal, but it was the only way all the targets could be adequately covered at once.
Following a final briefing at the Thunderfoot village, a lone Kanzuki Industries helicopter headed towards the Shadaloo base. It flew nap-of-the-earth to avoid detection and dropped off the first two teams well short and to the west of the base's location. The chopper continued onwards, making a wide detour, before dropping Cammy and Juri to the east on the other side of the mountain range.
The two were currently resting amidst a tree line just short of their destination. After the helicopter had dropped them off (Cammy and the pilot agreed to rendezvous at that location in three days), there was still a trek of several hours over rugged, arid terrain. The vegetation was spotty and mixed, but enough to cover their approach. So far, they hadn't run into any Shadaloo patrols. The area was desolate with no nearby water sources, though they could hear some birds in the distance.
The plan was to set up an observation point on the ridge overlooking the rear of the base. Some hard climbing uphill remained before they could reach their position. It was already the late afternoon and Cammy wanted to be there before dark.
Confident that they had already made good time, she had decided on a quick meal break at the foot of the objective ridge. Not only were they both sporting 30-something pound backpacks, the two had taken turns lugging a 5-gallon water container that was another 40 pounds or so (Juri had naturally complained constantly while carrying it). They were going to need some energy for the final ascent, not to mention a little rest. Despite both being in excellent physical shape and condition, the hike had nevertheless been demanding.
Fortunately, the warm dry air kept them from sweating terribly, which was ideal since they didn't want to lose more body water than necessary. The wet season was still over a month away, so it was unlikely that they'd get hit with any storms. However, it also meant that there were no nearby water sources, hence, the water container.
Still, a few days with Juri as a companion...
'At least I got her to apply the facial camouflage makeup properly,' Cammy thought, as she started to spoon another mouthful of food into her mouth. Juri had wanted to draw little spiders on her cheeks with the black paint. Fortunately, she was dissuaded from this course of action, though Juri afterwards pouted on the helicopter the entire trip. 'We're well stocked, water is good, clothing is...acceptable. Juri's regular outfit would have stuck out like a sore thumb here.'
Since she was going to be in the field for several days, Cammy had opted for a more traditional military outfit than the leotard that she usually sported. While it didn't give her the freedom of movement that she liked for fighting, the beige and green field uniform, complete with pants, would offer her some protection against the elements. Besides, the emphasis for this mission was on observation, not combat.
Even Juri had worn halfway decent clothing for the mission. The beige and white light jacket wasn't the worst camouflage that Cammy had seen, although she wished that her companion had picked something a bit lighter colored than black sweatpants. Still, she couldn't complain too much. At least Juri wasn't wearing her black, purple, and pink motorbike catsuit. Small victories...
"You like what you see?"
The British operative belatedly realized that she had been inadvertently staring at Juri while lost in thought. She looked away, a slight blush heating her face.
"Huh? Oh...sorry. I was just thinking, that's all."
Juri grinned while making a smooching noise.
"Hmmm, thinking about us? Maybe Chun Li was there, too?"
The blush in Cammy's face turned a deeper shade of red.
"What?! No! Nothing like that!"
Juri raised an eyebrow, the sly grin still stuck on her face.
"You sure, kitten?"
Cammy took a couple steps towards Juri, put her hands on her hips and bent forwards. She should have expected this sort of nonsense from her companion.
"Go pound sand! I was actually..."
Cammy faltered for a moment. As much as Juri pissed her off most of the time, an extra set of eyes was desirable for the mission. Still, she realized the need to stop reacting to every dumb statement her companion made.
"Damn it. Look, I know we've had our..."
Cammy swallowed hard before continuing. The next part was going to be really difficult to say.
"...differences, but we both hate Shadaloo. We don't have to be at each other's throats this time."
Juri squinted and cocked her head sideways. Although her attitude had mellowed somewhat towards Cammy since they first met about five years ago, she still wasn't entirely sure what to make of the British operative now that her 'sisters' had been freed from Shadaloo influence.
'Honestly, I kinda preferred the Dolls still being in Shadaloo,' Juri mused. 'It was way more entertaining that way. Watching Cammy squirm while she worried about those losers was always good for a laugh. Now that they're free, it's...definitely lost its luster. Ugh, what a bore.'
It was a brave new world, she supposed, giving an inward sigh. Still, the fact that she had no reason to use them as punching bags anymore was a bit annoying. They were no longer with Shadaloo, so there was no reason to give a shit about them. They simply weren't worth her time anymore. Of course, there were always new opportunities for amusement elsewhere.
"Are you feeling alright, kitten?" Juri asked with a frown, her head still cocked sideways. "I could swear that you're extending an olive branch. Ooo, wait...Does this mean we'll be going on shopping trips, having each other over for tea, writing each other love-"
"Why do you have to be so bloody impossible?!" Cammy hissed loudly, throwing up her hands. Three damn days of this crap to put up with...
"Because it's a lot more fun this way," Juri replied as she stood up, taking a step forward. "Ok, kitten, we'll have ourselves a little truce. Like I said yesterday, this mission will give us some time to catch up."
She put a forefinger on Cammy's lips.
"Now, now, no need to say anything, kitten. You'll ruin the moment."
Cammy jerked her head sideways to shake off Juri's touch. Her glare could have easily peeled paint off a wall.
Juri managed to hold back her laughter, but a small giggle nevertheless escaped her lips. They were near the base, after all, so she understood the need for quiet. It was far too easy pressing Cammy's buttons, but the reactions were almost always priceless.
The mirth faded when Cammy pointed at the 5-gallon water container.
"By the way, it's your turn to carry the water," she remarked before quickly finishing her meal and sitting down under a tree.
Juri scowled after Cammy. Hauling that thing uphill would be a total pain in the ass! Could she leave it? No, they definitely would need the water later on. Besides, Juri suspected that Cammy would risk dehydration out of spite before bringing it up herself.
"Shit," she muttered before angrily scooping another sporkful of her meal. If this was an example of military life, then it totally sucked.
'If this is the kind of garbage I'd have to deal with to be in her dumb army unit, then Cammy can keep her freaking Delta Red crap.'
They waited until the sun was behind the mountains before establishing their observation post. It meant there was still enough light to set up without the sun shining directly in their faces. It was located amongst a clump of several trees on the crest, with a few decent sized rocks piled around them. They laid down and began to survey the valley below them.
The lack of Shadaloo patrols thus far bothered Cammy a bit. She assumed there would be at least some activity to prevent intrusions like the one they were attempting right now. The base clearly wasn't abandoned, since satellite images revealed the stubby outlines of several green shaded SV-011 VTOL (vertical take-off and landing) aircraft on the tarmac near the control tower. Plus, T. Hawk had been insistent that soldiers in Shadaloo uniforms had kidnapped and killed some of his people. What were those captives going to be used for, new 'recruits'? It wouldn't have been the first time that the Thunderfoot had been 'conscripted' by their tormentors.
'But why start taking prisoners now? Shadaloo has been crippled for the better part of a year. Very strange. We'll find the answers soon enough.'
As the daylight gradually shifted to dusk, Cammy and Juri both scanned the vicinity from their concealed position until they found what they were looking for. Further down the valley to their left was the 'anomaly' that had been shown on the satellite imagery.
Cammy spotted it first, nudging Juri to look in the direction she was nodding towards. Juri adjusted her Feng Shui Engine eye and, several moments later, confirmed the sighting with a nod.
"Several vents, a concealed storage bunker...that's what it looks like, anyway, and...oh..."
A feral grin spread across Juri's face. Jackpot.
"...a back door."
Cammy nodded slowly in confirmation.
"You're right. It's a hatch. An escape route?"
Juri considered the suggestion before nodding in agreement.
"Yeah, I'd say that's likely. While all the action is going out in front, the VIPs can slip away here. I'd bet anything that the bunker has vehicles for a quick getaway. Let's go find out."
Setting her binoculars on the ground, Cammy shook her head. Didn't Juri pay attention to anything at the mission briefing?
"No, we need to wait and see if there's any activity. We'll go in tomorrow night when we have a better idea of potential patrol routes."
Juri scrunched one side of her nose.
"Uh, ok, and oh, hey look...there's no one down there. Coast is clear, let's go."
As Juri made a pretense to get up, Cammy placed a hand on the other's shoulder to stop her. Juri's body visibly tensed at the touch.
"Be serious," Cammy argued as she pulled her hand away. "We need to know if they have any patrol patterns first. We'll have a better idea of this when we go in tomorrow night."
Juri let out a frustrated sigh as she touched the ground with her forehead. This exercise was going to drive her nuts with the inaction.
"Do we really have to sit here and watch for 24 freaking hours? What the hell else do we do?"
Cammy closed her eyes and gave an irritated groan of her own. It was increasingly obvious that Juri hadn't paid attention at all to the meeting before they left.
'What the hell was she doing while I was talking about this earlier at the briefing? Do I really want to know?'
The only thing Cammy could do at this point was go over some of the details once again, as much as it annoyed her to do so.
"We rotate our watch every few hours. The other will rest, eat, whatever. The less movement we do, the less water we use. Recon missions take patience, Juri."
"Terrific, almost three days of watching the grass grow, and there's almost no grass."
"The time should go by quickly enough. Besides, the more information we gather now, the easier it will be when we take that base later. I'll take first watch. You can relieve me in three hours."
With a huff, Juri shuffled back from the crest a short distance and sat next to her backpack. After trying to decide what to do next, a wide yawn resolved the issue. The earlier physical exertions had caught up with her and the idea of a nap seemed like a good idea. After several minutes of shifting position on the hard ground, Juri finally rested her head against her backpack, which now served as a makeshift pillow. She closed her eyes, trying to make the best of the circumstances. Despite the discomfort, it didn't take long for exhaustion to overcome her, and she dropped off into a deep sleep.
When Cammy's hand shook her awake later, a startled Juri looked around wildly for a couple of moments. A few stars twinkled in the dark sky above her.
"Relax, Juri, it's just me," Cammy reassured her. "It's your turn to watch."
As Juri sat up, she let out a moan, her back aching from laying on the stony surface. Stretching didn't help much as she remained stiff and sore.
Juri scowled at Cammy as she shook her head to try and shake off the drowsiness.
"Damn it, Cammy, we couldn't find a softer place to watch?"
"You'll get used to it. Nothing to report so far, by the way. Wake me up in a few hours."
After muttering several curses in Korean, Juri grumpily grabbed her backpack and crawled up to the position where Cammy had been observing from. Then she pulled out another meal from the ration pack and inspected the contents, her stomach rumbling as she did so. All the earlier hiking had certainly worked up an appetite.
It read, 'All-Day Breakfast,' whatever the hell that meant. After a quick glance into the valley to check on any disturbances, she fished out her spork and ripped open the top. Yay, more cold meals...
"Whatever," she muttered as she dug into the pouch. A few minutes later, Juri tossed the mostly empty package on the ground. Sausage, some bacon, and baked beans...not even spicy!
'Of course, I can't possibly warm the food up because some non-existent Shadaloo soldiers might see the smoke,' Juri thought wryly as she scanned the valley with her Feng Shui engine. Its built-in telescopic nature meant she had no need for binoculars. She switched from a sitting to prone position while watching for anything that might catch her interest.
Naturally, there was nothing. Just the stars twinkling in the sky above. She turned to check on Cammy, but her partner was already fast asleep. Real exciting…
Before long, she was supporting her head with her hand as she disinterestedly continued to monitor the valley. Despite hoping for something, anything to happen, the next three hours was a complete bore-fest. The rest of the night went by without incident, with both women catching cat naps when they weren't observing.
By morning, Juri was in a dark mood. They still had two more days of this shit!
'Wow, last night was a total waste of time. I'll bet even sweetie's having more excitement in that stupid village than I am.'
"We'll re-locate later this afternoon to another spot," Cammy assured her later that morning. "I want to find a better place that's overlooking those vents. We'll investigate the area once it gets dark."
The tag-team observation continued through the morning without a peep from the Shadaloo base. Only the idea of investigating the escape hatch later kept Juri from going completely crazy.
In fact, the only 'excitement' for Juri was having to use her wag (Waste Alleviation and Gelling) bag ('crapping in a freaking garbage bag' was how Juri put it) in the early afternoon, which did nothing to improve her mood. Cammy could hear a stream of curses in Korean from her companion as the latter trudged back up the slope after finishing, bag in hand. She tossed it aside when she neared Cammy and sat down against a tree.
As Cammy continued to check through her binoculars, she felt Juri's impassive gaze boring into her. She turned around and, sure enough, Juri was a few feet away, slowly tapping one of her feet. Her stare never left Cammy.
The British operative sighed as she set down the binoculars. She couldn't understand why Juri was so insistent on getting inside that base.
'I know that she's looking for something in there, but not exactly what it is. Is it a weapon? That worries me more than a little bit, since Juri is capable of causing all sorts of trouble. A new weapon in her hands...'
"Why did you decide to come along? You had to know that this is what we'd be doing for the most part. In fact, what are you looking for in there?"
Juri's response was a noncommittal shrug. How to answer that question? It remained doubtful that Cammy would simply allow her to gain access to a stronger Feng Shui engine.
'Yeah, fat chance that I'm telling you anything, kitten.'
"There's something in that base that I'm interested in. I want to see some of the layout in there. I don't need to tell you anything else."
Cammy's eyes narrowed as she shifted her body to lay on her side. She didn't expect a straight answer, but given Juri's coy response, a weapon remained a possibility.
"Ok, you told me that you want to catch up earlier. So, let's 'catch up'. What's so important in that base that you traveled all the way here to get it?"
Juri's expression didn't change one iota, though she did stop tapping her foot. She sat straighter against the tree.
'Persistent, aren't you? This isn't what I meant by catching up. Ok, let's try something different.'
"Let me ask you this, kitten. Why did you stop fighting Shadaloo? Did you really think that with Bison...supposedly dead that that would be it? That everyone would be able to just walk into the sunset, living happily ever after?"
Cammy blinked in surprise. The question had caught her off guard. Sure, there were a few holdouts, but Shadaloo was gone. What was Juri getting at?
"I didn't stop fighting them. I spent almost a half year tracking down Vega before the trail went cold. And what do you mean, supposedly dead? Bison's gone, Juri. Shadaloo is not returning, even if there are traces still around. I don't even think they can function for long without him."
"If Shadaloo's gone, then why the hell are we sitting here watching this place? Why is this base even operational?"
"Like I said, there are undoubtedly a few holdouts. They'll be taken care of eventually. However, back to what you said before. I'm curious...why do you think Bison is possibly still around?"
Juri debated about telling Cammy the 'dream' she had a few weeks back. Truth be told, it frightened her a little to know that Bison was still hanging around in some spirit form, though she'd never let anyone know that. No, she let her guard down with Maya, who didn't believe her until she was shown the strange symbol on that Feng Shui engine box. Good luck trying to explain that symbol to Cammy. It was doubtful that her partner would understand and the less people that knew about the eye or any of the other weird stuff that went along with that dream, the better.
'Besides, what the hell am I going to tell her? That Bison is roaming around the spirit realm poking around in people's minds? With some deified albino schoolgirl handing out cryptic comments?'
There was ample evidence to use without resorting to that dumb nightmare.
"Bison supposedly died a while back, right? Everyone thought he was gone until he suddenly popped up at Seth's World Warrior Tournament. Why would last year's 'death' be any different?"
Cammy brushed her forelock aside as she considered Juri's point. To be fair, it was valid. Although she was told by Guile and Chun Li that Ryu had defeated Bison, neither of them were actually there when it occurred. Could they have been mistaken?
Besides, Cammy remembered quite well the shock she felt when Bison had shown up unannounced at Seth's fighting tournament. In fact, the signs had been there even before the former had made a direct appearance.
Months before Seth's tournament, Cammy had been part of an investigation into a S.I.N. project that was kidnapping several famous martial artists for experiments. The investigation eventually led to her and several other street fighters nearly capturing Seth on one of his yachts. However, just when they thought the S.I.N. leader was cornered, a helicopter with Shadaloo markings swooped in and lifted him to safety. It had been the first hint that Bison and his organization had returned.
'What if Juri is right? What if Bison is still 'alive' somehow? Is this why Karin asked me to meet with her? Does she know of this as well? That would be worrisome indeed. Perhaps I should investigate this further when I get back to London.'
Of course, it was certainly possible that Juri was making this stuff up to stir up trouble, but that was doubtful. Her companion still had a burning hatred of Shadaloo. It was one of the few aspects of Juri that Cammy could relate to. But there was more to life than remaining locked in the past, wasn't there?
'That obsession is going to consume her eventually. Is chasing around Shadaloo remnants the only thing which gives her purpose?'
Cammy had to admit that Bison's death had left a void in her life for a short time after the Black Moons Crisis. As someone who had broken free of Shadaloo's influence and made it her own mission to fight that madman no matter what, she understood Juri's anger all too well. However, the methods that her companion employed were just as bad as anything Bison had done. Too many innocent people ended up getting hurt alongside those who deserved it.
'Even with Shadaloo gone, I still have other motivations. I'm in Delta Red, which keeps me busy enough. If I falter, then I know that my colleagues and my friends will have my back. They are the ones who truly lend me strength to carry on. What does Juri have?'
For the first time since Cammy had known Juri, she felt pity towards her. Her companion had no real friends (it remained to be seen what Kara could do), no one to fall back on if she ran into trouble. It had to be a lonely existence, and not one the British operative would have chosen. Would Juri ever let go of the past? Not likely. It wasn't something Cammy could help her with. It was doubtful that anyone could.
"Anything's possible with Bison, I guess. I want to ask you something else. What would you do if Shadaloo was totally gone?"
For just the fraction of a moment, Cammy could have sworn that she saw fear in Juri's eyes. However, before her companion could respond, a high-pitched whine could be heard from the direction of the base.
The unexpected noise caused both of women to jump. Cammy reacted first, scrambling back towards the observation position to grab her binoculars. The whine quickly changed to a whoosh.
Cammy locked in on the sound and saw a pair of SV-011's rising just above the crest of the mountain in front of them before they shot away towards the west. For a moment, a cold pit formed in her stomach since the jets were likely flying right over her other teams on the other side of the base.
She cocked an ear in that direction to hear of any sounds of combat in the distance. The silence was reassuring. It meant that her other teams remained unseen.
"Huh, I wonder where they're going," Juri pondered as she followed the jets with their Feng Shui Engine. Finally, something interesting had happened. It was about freaking time.
"It can't be anywhere good," Cammy replied as she put the binoculars down. "I think we should stay put here for a couple of more hours. It's possible that they might start some sort of patrol pattern with those jets taking off. Hopefully the others weren't discovered."
"We're still going down there tonight though," Juri said. It wasn't an inquiry. Cammy gave a firm nod. She was curious about the inner workings of that base as well.
"Yes, we'll head down then. I want to know more of what's going on inside that base."