Absolutely no guarantee that I'll get anywhere with this. This is an experiment at best. By the way, is it so much to ask for proper formatting? The C&C section of is still lacking in this department.
The Bird of Prey
Chapter 1: The Eagle Has Landed
The impact rocked the ground and threw dirt in the air. Five more missiles came crashing down as the GDI soldier tried to roll out of the way. Whether it was luck or skill that got him through it he didn't know. As the Nod infantry advanced Private Wilhelm Feydrich opened fire and his pulse rifle caught several of them by surprise. He saw two Nod soldiers go down and the others duck for cover. This wouldn't last long so Wilhelm went down on his stomach and started crawling again.
The infrared sensor on his helmet was the only thing keeping him from getting lost. He took the time to glance back and noticed several more Nod soldiers approaching. One saw him but Wilhelm fired first. Two bursts put his enemy down for good. Just then two more enemy units went down screaming. Wilhelm looked around but didn't see anyone around him. He decided to use the opportunity to escape and did so. A flash caught his eye and mere moments later another Nod soldier went down. Now the young GDI soldier had hope. Friendly units were providing sniper cover, and he just prayed that they wouldn't mistake him for the enemy.
After crawling over a small hill the soldier rolled down and peeked up. Despite his minor successes, Nod troops were still here in force and he was outnumbered and slowly being hunted down. Three enemy soldiers came marching forward though they were a bit more cautious this time. Wilhelm took aim and opened fire. The crackling of his rifle alerted them to his position but one was hit immediately. He shifted his aim and another soldier went down but the rifle suddenly stopped.
"Bloody," Wilhelm swore.
The rifle had jammed at the worst possible time and his pistol didn't have the range to hit the last enemy soldier. The last thing he could do was run, and run he did.
Screams came from behind him and sporadic fire went past him. Yet again and again his backup continued to pick off the enemy with a sniper rifle. Finally a silence fell upon the battlefield and Wilhelm crouched behind a large stone. He peered out and saw flickers of movement on the battlefield but they seemed confused and erratic. Again he tried to radio.
"This is Gamma 325 calling to any GDI units in the area. Respond."
The hiss of static answered him. Not wasting any more time, Wilhelm continued his escape. Fortunately he came upon a few more bodies and picked up a new rifle. After checking that it still worked, he picked up some more ammo and went on his way. He was in no man's land and until he got out there was no such thing as safety. Of course, once he left, sanctuary might not be present either.
Despite all this he wasn't out of the woods yet. Buzzing suddenly came and Wilhelm knew what that meant. Nod forces were deploying their buggies. Whoever was supporting him with the sniper rifle wouldn't be much help now unless they somehow managed to take out the driver. His rifle wouldn't do much good either at the moment. He'd have to be creative. Wilhelm started running again until the sound of the buggies was almost upon him. He then chose another rock to hide behind and waited. Two of the Nod buggies shot past and continued on their way. It wouldn't take them long to figure out what had happened so he needed to make the best of it.
As the second buggy went past Wilhelm opened fire at its wheels. The bullets popped the tire immediately and it flipped over several times before coming to a rest. The other buggy turned and opened fire but Wilhelm had already rolled over to the other side of the rock. The bullets chipped off stone but didn't touch him. Then to his surprise the other buggy started skidding and crashed into a nearby tree. The thing erupted into flames and exploded seconds later. Apparently his sniper friend had decided to follow his tactic.
By now the Nod forces had probably moved on so he was safe for the moment. Wilhelm didn't let this momentary lapse in action stop him though and he began running out of the combat zone. Taking the time to use cover and watch his back, it took another ten minutes before he stopped seeing craters and broken bodies. Miraculously, several buildings outside the fighting area hadn't been hit. Some looked structurally sound so he headed towards one for shelter. However, the moment he stepped in, guns were pointing at him.
Wilhelm looked around and waited, knowing that if they wanted to kill him there was nothing he could do. One of the soldiers removed his helmet and Wilhelm's eyes adjusted slowly to the dimness. All of the soldiers here were Shiners. Mutants.
"So you were the one running away from Nod."
The other Shiners backed off but kept their guns leveled. A woman stepped forward carrying a high-powered sniper rifle. Apparently she was his guardian angel back on the battlefield.
"You fought well, for a grunt."
Wilhelm wasn't sure whether to take that as an insult or complement.
"So, who are you?"
"My rank wouldn't mean much."
The woman smiled and nodded to another Shiner. He took Wilhelm's rifle, pistol, and knife. Without his weapons, the man felt naked.
"Take him to a holding cell for now," the woman ordered.
She turned away and two other Shiners grabbed Wilhelm's arms. With the adrenaline pushing him now completely gone, Wilhelm nearly collapsed, which resulted in more guns pointed at him. Blood dripped out of his mouth and a Shiner examined him.
"Looks like he was shot ma'am."
"Then patch him up," the woman ordered.
The Shiner shook his head. "Not sure how much good that'll do. There're traces of Tiberium in this wound."
That caught the attention of the others and the woman frowned.
"Clean the wound and do what you can. Well brother, it seems you may be joining us soon."
Wilhelm looked at the ragtag group of soldiers and frowned. He knew the effects that Tiberium could have on the human body, and it was that kind of death that scared a soldier like him. However, there was no way he would join these people. His loyalty was with GDI.
"You could just let me go on my way," Wilhelm said. "From what I've heard, I'll probably be dead anyways. No point in keeping me here."
"GDI can't do anything for you," the woman said. "They'll probably put you in a lab for study. Nod will just turn you into a Cyborg if they catch you alive, or kill you."
"Doesn't matter," said Wilhelm. "I'd rather take a chance on something I know about."
The woman seemed both impressed and scornful at the same time.
"Get him patched up," she ordered. "Keep him locked up but comfortable."
The Shiner nodded and with two others led Wilhelm out of the room. The GDI soldier knew not to resist. He had heard about the things Shiners did to enemy soldiers and now wasn't the time to try to escape. If he could gain their trust, perhaps that opportunity would arise later. All the better if they thought of him as a brother.
The infirmary they had wasn't exactly in the cleanest state. After they laid him down someone he assumed to be a doctor examined and cleaned his wound. He grunted a few times but otherwise fought down the pain. After a bandage was applied he was escorted to another building and placed in one of the cells. Wilhelm collapsed on the bed and closed his eyes. It had been a long day and he still needed the rest. Hopefully this area was safe enough for that at least.
The battle that had erupted between the European GDI and Nod forces had been fierce. While there were reports that the fighting had stretched from Sarajevo to Hammerfest, Rachel wasn't totally sure what to believe. The confrontation here could be deemed a Nod victory as they had just driven out the GDI units here. However, they forgot to contend with the fact that the Forgotten also had a foothold here. Fortunately Nod wasn't ready to advance so they had some time to evacuate.
"What do you think of our prisoner?"
The man behind Rachel was known as Titanous. He was one of the older mutants and a seasoned warrior. However, that meant his lifespan was also coming to an end.
"He may become useful. However, it'll take time for him to accept what is happening to him."
"Perhaps the hardest thing that he must accept is that GDI can do nothing for him."
Rachel nodded. Though many in the Forgotten considered GDI as an ally, they were still only the better of two evils.
"Perhaps I should talk to him," Rachel said.
"He'll come around eventually," said Titanous. "No point in pushing him."
Rachel turned and started walking. "That doesn't mean I still can't talk to him. Besides, he did kill Nod."
Titanous kept his solemn face still and said nothing as Rachel walked out of the room. Sometimes she could be too compassionate, though he still respected her as a commander. Rachel looked out for those under her care and had gained the loyalty of many who fought under her. Perhaps she could convince this GDI soldier as well.
Wilhelm had been eating when he heard the activity outside. He didn't pay it any attention and continued his meal. It was some kind of meat with paste, along with a bit of rice. In other words, the Forgotten had given him a GDI MRE ration. He sighed and tasted the mystery paste. If he remembered his initial training, the paste was basically artificial vegetables crushed together. Not very tasty but it was food none the less. When the door opened he just looked over and saw it was the woman from earlier. She sat down and didn't say anything, just watching him eat. After a few awkward moments a conversation began.
"How's the wound?"
Wilhelm shrugged. "Still hurts. Suppose it'll keep on hurting until the hole closes."
"So what do you think of the food?"
"I'm wondering where you got GDI issued rations."
Rachel smiled. "I haven't introduced myself yet. My name is Rachel."
"Hmm. Rachel from the bible?"
This time it was Rachel that shrugged. "My mother gave me the name. I don't know why."
Wilhelm didn't press it as that probably meant she was dead.
"So how did you end up here?"
"You had me thrown in here."
"Please, Herr Feydrich. It's pointless to be playing games. This war certainly isn't one."
Wilhelm stopped eating and leaned against the wall. There was no point in being cold towards these people. Rachel had saved his life after all.
"My unit was assigned to engage one of Nod's regular divisions," Wilhelm began. "We had expected their forces to collapse quickly as we outnumbered them."
Rachel smiled. "I see. And when your forces encountered Black Hand units, your attack collapsed."
"Hardly. We didn't face any Black Hand forces. We actually got defeated by the cyborgs."
That was something Rachel wasn't aware of.
"There are cyborg units here?"
Wilhelm nodded. "Wait, there are Black Hand units here?"
"So we both know something the other didn't. However, the cyborgs are bigger problems at the moment."
"Well, you Shiners are pretty well equipped. You shouldn't have any problems dealing with them."
Rachel frowned. "You certainly have a lot of confidence in us. And don't call us Shiners."
Neither had anything else to say for a bit and Wilhelm resumed his meal.
"So. How bad did the Tiberium affect me?" he finally asked.
"You suffered a large dose," Rachel replied. "It was just short of lethal and is already starting to affect your system."
"Hmm. So, how long do I have?"
"A few years, we think. It's not as bad as you might have heard. Only sometimes."
"Well, I'm like you people now. But I'm still going to try to get back to GDI."
"Are you sure you want to?" Rachel asked.
"You're different now. A mutant in the eyes of your fellow humans. It won't be the same."
Wilhelm chewed thoughtfully as he considered the words.
"And you would know from personal experience?"
"So why help me? I was just like another human. I considered you a Shiner, discriminated against your people."
"And now you're one of us. But we're different. Just because you hated or feared us before doesn't matter. We take care of our own."
"That still doesn't stop me from being GDI."
Rachel sighed. "Cling to your loyalties as long as you want. You'll find that GDI is no better than Nod in many ways. They don't care about us. All either side cares about is how to maintain control over their respective territories."
"We're trying to keep humanity free," Wilhelm insisted.
"You joined GDI because you believed that? And you still believe that? You must not have seen that much action."
Wilhelm put down the plate and looked out the window.
"I've seen plenty. And maybe it's because I have seen what Nod's capable of that I want to stop them."
Rachel smiled at him and knocked on the door. The guard opened it to let her out.
"We have more in common than you think, Herr Wilhelm. For that, I'll see about getting you back to your precious GDI."
The door slammed shut and Wilhelm laid down on the bed. He stared at the ceiling and wondered why he had such bad luck. Only time would tell. Without anything else to do, he closed his eyes and tried to sleep.
The Next Day
Morning came quicker than Wilhelm expected and he felt groggy as the sunlight struck his eyes. He walked around a bit to stretch and waited for breakfast to come. Instead, the door opened and the guard motioned for him to come out.
"What's this, I get a walk too?"
"Funny," the mutant said. "Get your ass moving, grunt. We're leaving this dump and for some reason the commander wants you to come with us. Me, I'd just leave you to rot until Nod came to pick you up."
"You seem to be forgetting. Apparently I'm a mutant now too."
"I see you really are a funny guy. Listen, grunt. Until you learn how to kill Nod with your bare hands, you're not one of us."
As they came outside Wilhelm watched as the mutants moved about. A good deal of equipment was being loaded onto buses and vans while others piled into old APCs.
"You people really do have a lot of hardware."
"You and Nod do a good job of killing each other," the guard said. "Leaves a lot of goodies for us."
"I didn't know you mutants had a sweet tooth."
"I didn't know you Germans had a sense of humor."
"Oh we had one. It left us after what Nod did to Berlin."
For the first time the mutant guard seemed to acknowledge him as a fellow human being. Or would that be as a brother mutant? Wilhelm was put into one of the buses and the convoy was soon off. He watched the landscape pass by and wondered if he would ever see his family again. But of course, they would have to deal with the fact that he was a mutant. It probably wouldn't be safe for them to see him anyways.
The forest they were driving through had been thoroughly infested with Tiberium. Crystal shards littered the roads and crunched as the vehicles ran them over. Because of the remoteness, the roads were in horrible shape and Wilhelm wondered how the vehicles were maintained for all this. Of course wondering was pointless as they probably wouldn't tell him. The ride was long and by the time they stopped Wilhelm was nursing a sore bum after all the bumps. The mutant guard just laughed.
"You ain't one of us until you learn to handle it like a man."
The bus went bump again and both men nearly fell out of their seats.
"What the hell was that?"
"Trouble," the mutant guard said.
The convoy screeched to a halt and soldiers started piling out. Wilhelm peered out the back of the bus and saw what looked like Nod infantry advancing upon them. Firefights broke out all around the men and they tried to hold the line. Guns mounted on the various vehicles were turned back to help suppress the attackers and ended up routing most of the incoming Nod infantry. However, they weren't the biggest problem.
Sure enough the lumbering monstrosities of human and machine came forward. They opened fire with their chain guns and tore through several defenders.
"Give me a rifle," Wilhelm said.
The mutant guard just stared at him.
"Goddamn it, give me a bloody rifle! I'm more use out there fighting than in here watching, and you're more use out there than babysitting me!"
Finally the guard opened up one of the packs and threw him a rifle. It looked like a mix of a GDI and Nod pulse rifle but he shrugged. If it worked, that was fine. The two men came out and opened fire, concentrating on only one of the cyborgs. They went for headshots as that was where the control unit was. Wilhelm and his guard ducked immediately as bullets sprayed over their head and nailed the bus they were just in. After shooting and ducking for a bit missiles started pouring out against the cyborgs. One took three in the chest and was blown in half. Its upper body continued to crawl and leak Tiberium fluids but a few more shots from Wilhelm put it down for good. Then a beam of light shot past them and blew apart another cyborg. The remaining mutants rallied and fought back the cyborgs with the heavy weapons support from back. The smoke cleared and the result of the skirmish was there for all to see.
"You might just be one of us," the guard said grudgingly.
"You want your rifle back?"
The mutant shook his head. "Keep it. You might need it again someday."
Wilhelm looked around and several of the mutants seemed a bit more approving of him. Well, nothing created bonds faster than sharing danger together. He then noticed an older mutant that was cradling a weird looking gun. Wilhelm searched his memory but couldn't remember anything like this in the briefings.
"So now what?"
"Now we salvage what we can," the guard said, "then get the hell out of here."
Wilhelm had no objections to that. He helped load some of the equipment and in maybe an hour they were off again. This time there were no more attacks on them and they reached their destination safely.
To his surprise the entire convoy had stopped at a large GDI base. He saw dozens of soldiers walking around either on patrol or just taking a break. Several Titans were moving into a hanger and he saw sparks fly out as they did maintenance.
"Well, you got what you wished for."
"Indeed. So, you're going to let me go?"
Rachel shrugged. "See, here's the thing. I talked to the base commander and he said that your entire unit was destroyed. You're listed as MIA since they didn't find a body. If you go back, you probably will be placed in a research facility. If you stay with us, well, we aren't sure what to do with you yet."
"And yet I'm a soldier. You people could always use more soldiers, especially since you fight so much."
"There's that. It's your choice, Herr Feydrich."
Wilhelm watched the GDI base and all its activity. He had been a part of it once, but of course now he felt disconnected. Becoming a mutant meant that he really didn't have much of a choice.
"How long are we going to be here?" Wilhelm asked.
"A few hours at least. We need to load quite a bit in terms of supplies."
"Then I'd like to at least report in on what happened to my unit."
Rachel nodded. "Very well then. Come with me."
The two walked through the base and Wilhelm took note of the GDI soldiers and officers. Most of them gave them looks while others avoided them completely. Was this the way he had treated mutants in the past? It would certainly explain the scorn mutants felt towards regular humans. They were allowed through by the guards but it was clear the GDI soldiers weren't too happy having the Forgotten inside their base. Another soldier showed them to the base commander's office and went in before them. A few seconds later he reappeared and held the door for them.
The man sitting behind the desk was in his late forties, but still had the look of a warrior. He was already standing when they entered.
"Welcome to Normandy Base. I am Colonel Armstrong."
Rachel nodded. "I am Rachel of the Forgotten. This is Private Wilhelm of the GDI."
Wilhelm stepped forward and saluted smartly. "Private Wilhelm Feydrich, of the 82nd Wehrmacht Division."
The name of Wilhelm's unit caught Armstrong's attention and he nodded.
"Well, I see at least one of you survived. The rest of your unit wasn't so fortunate."
"Very well then. Thank you for returning Private Wilhelm to us. You have our gratitude, Rachel."
"There is something else," Rachel said quickly before Armstrong could dismiss them. "Private Feydrich has been in contact with Tiberium. An almost lethal dose."
Armstrong froze for a second before looking over Wilhelm. There were no visible signs of Tiberium infection, though that didn't mean anything right now. If the exposure was recent enough, it would take a few days before any signs became visible to the human eye.
"We'll have to get you to a treatment center," Armstrong said immediately. "Private Feydrich, you are relieved of your duties for the time being and will report to the infirmary."
"Sir, with all due respect, I don't think there's any way to cure me," Wilhelm replied, surprising the colonel again. "And I wasn't born to be a lab rat for people to study"
Armstrong frowned and leaned forward, his hands pressed against the desk.
"Son, you're assuming a lot here. First, you're assuming the amount of Tiberium you were exposed to will cause permanent damage. Second, you're assuming we're going to treat you like a lab rat. We're GDI, and we look after our own. Hell, you're a soldier and you should know that by now."
"I'm also now a mutant," Wilhelm said calmly. "I'm sorry Colonel, but I cannot see how I can be of any use to GDI anymore. I may be a soldier, but I could also endanger those unaffected by Tiberium. Also, there is no point for me to seek treatment as nothing GDI has developed can possibly help me right now."
"So you're going to desert?"
Wilhelm shook his head. "No sir. I believe you relieved me of duty just a minute ago. Besides, I'll be more help out there fighting Nod then sitting in some hospital."
Armstrong seemed to consider his words before looking over at Rachel.
"Can you excuse us for a moment?" he asked.
Rachel nodded. "Of course. However, Wilhelm is a mutant now, and we consider him one of our own."
"That is already quite clear," Armstrong said dryly.
With that Rachel walked out of the office and closed the door. Armstrong turned back to Wilhelm with his frown.
"You're putting me in an odd situation, soldier," he said. "This has never happened in the history of GDI. Every officer ever contaminated by Tiberium has trusted the organization to look after him, and yet you're refusing treatment. I can understand your desire to continue the fight, and I can also understand your desire to not want to be a test subject for whatever treatment our doctors and scientists think might work. But I may very well have to order you to comply."
Wilhelm said nothing. After a few seconds of silence, Armstrong continued.
"However, you are also providing me with a unique opportunity of sorts."
Wilhelm frowned. "Sir?"
"As far as I know, no GDI officer has ever joined the Forgotten. At least none that we know of. I'm not too concerned about you revealing any information to them. Any technical information you might know, they probably already figured out. However, if you were to go with the Forgotten, you could be our eyes and ears."
This was starting to sound worse and worse, Wilhelm realized. The Forgotten had saved him and offered him a place to go, though they obviously had their own motives. Now Colonel Armstrong wanted him to spy on them?
"You get what I'm saying?"
"Yes sir," Wilhelm reluctantly replied.
"Good. Then I'll let you go, but I'll expect you to send reports to me regularly."
"And how am I to do that, sir?"
"Simple," said Armstrong. "GDI forces send supplies to the mutants on a regular basis. Simply give your report to the senior officer, and he'll get it back to me. Understood?"
Armstrong nodded, satisfied. "Very well then. Officially, you'll be listed as KIA, unofficially you'll be working through the GDI Special Warfare Division. Is that understood, Private?"
Wilhelm nodded. "Yes sir. May I ask a question sir?"
"Why is it necessary to maintain watch over the Forgotten? Are they not our allies?"
"Keep your friends close and your enemies closer," Armstrong replied. "But what if we don't know whether they're friends or enemies? That is the current dilemma we in GDI face. Though the Forgotten seem to consider us as allies, we don't know where their true loyalties lie. That's what I want you to find out."
"Very well then, Private. Dismissed."
"Sir!" Wilhelm saluted and walked out of the room.
Rachel was leaning against the wall and straightened when he came out. She nodded and Wilhelm followed her once again back to the others. Most of the work had been done so the convoy was getting ready to leave.
"So. Will you be coming with us?" Rachel asked.
Wilhelm nodded. "There really isn't a place for me here anymore. I might as well accept my fate."
A disappointed sound came from Rachel and Wilhelm looked over at her.
"We don't accept our fate," she said. "That's why we fight with all our might."
With that she pointed Wilhelm to one of the buses and he walked over. As he climbed on, Wilhelm considered Armstrong's words. He had said they didn't know where the Forgotten stood, but there was a certain honor to these people. Maybe he would learn something from them. Wilhelm took one last look at the GDI base, one last look at his former life, and watched as it faded away as the bus drove off.
End of Chapter 1
A perspective of a mutant regarding the war between Nod and GDI. Well, not a real mutant, but someone that is becoming one. It should be interesting to explore this.