July 23, 1998
It began as a simple investigation of some bizarre murders in the suburbs of Cerulean City. Nothing in our training could have prepared us for the nightmare that ensued. We never stood a chance…
Rebecca Chambers sat gripping her seat as the S.T.A.R.S. Bravo Team's helicopter flew over the forest. Normally flying didn't make her so nervous. She had trained countless of times in helicopters, from getting onto one to jumping out of one. Rebecca had never been scared of heights, either. Nor was she a constant worrier.
She wasn't nervous about accompanying five men she barely knew out on a night flight over woods she had spent barely any time in. This was the Special Tactics And Rescue Service of Cerulean City, a special unit of the local police department. This was Bravo Team, her assigned team. The fact she was the only woman in it had never bothered her. Neither had any of the men.
No, she was nervous because this was her first mission. And it was a doozy.
Lately, a series of bizarre homicides have occurred in the forests around Mt. Moon, northwest of Cerulean City. Victims have been mostly hikers and people living in the area. Their bodies were found with various wounds, ranging from deep bites and scratches to total dismemberment. In one case a single body had been strewn over a hundred meter area. There have been no witnesses to the murders. At first, it was blamed on wild pokémon, mainly ursaring and luxray, and people were merely warned to exercise caution and not to travel alone or at night.
But, an autopsy on one of the intact bodies had revealed bite marks that only could have come from a human being. Suddenly the police had a mass murder on their hands. The blame quickly shifted from animals to a serial killer. The increasing number of murders soon led investigators to believe there were multiple killers, and ruled them to be the work of a previously unknown cult. The area was evacuated, and the police were put to work scouring the mountains.
For a while, the murders stopped. Then a family was found dead in their home, inside the city. Husband, wife, and children were all torn apart and partially eaten. A citywide panic ensued. The mayor ordered the police to stay in the city and protect the people there. Nightly patrols were conducted through the streets. With the regular police already working, the S.T.A.R.S unit was ordered to go into the mountains and track down the murderers.
Rebecca had personally seen some of the victims, and couldn't believe people could do something like that. It also terrified her. But she refused to let her fear show through. She was the unit medic. If someone was seriously hurt, her work would decide if he lived or died. She had to stay composed, and keep her act together.
"Doing alright, Becky?"
Rebecca looked up at Richard Aiken, sitting across from her. He had a custom-made shotgun partially disassembled on his lap. Richard loved his shotgun, and made sure it was always clean and ready for immediate use. He offered her a friendly smile. "You look nervous."
She glanced out the window, avoiding his gaze. "I'm fine," she told him.
"Leave the lady alone, Richard," Forest Speyer said. A large man, Forest was one of the finest marksman in the unit, and was Bravo Team's sniper. His rifle leaned on the wall against him, sling wrapped around his arm so it didn't fall out of the helicopter. Despite his formidable appearance, he had a sense of humor and loved messing with newer members.
Forest winked at Rebecca."Rebecca owes me a date when we get back, and I don't need you traumatizing her."
Richard put on an indignant expression. "Traumatizing? Who's traumatizing? I hear when you were born your mother looked at you and nearly had a heart attack."
Kenneth Sullivan laughed. "Forest lives in a fantasy world, where all the women flock to him." He took Rebecca's hand in his and gazed into her eyes. "Run away with me, love, and we'll leave these sorry excuses for men far behind." The dark man smiled. "You know what they say about going black, right?"
Despite herself, Rebecca giggled. "Thanks, but no thanks," she said. Kenneth was Bravo Team's point man and was in charge of scouting and reconnaissance. He was also the team's hazardous materials specialist.
Enrico Marini reached over and slapped Kenneth on the head. "We're on a mission. How about we act like, guys." Enrico was the Bravo Team leader, and second-in-command of S.T.A.R.S. He was a quiet and practical man, speaking only when he had something he felt worth saying. Rebecca always liked that quality about him. She also liked his dominating mustache.
Enrico turned around to talk to the pilots. "How far are we from the landing site?" he asked.
Kevin Dooley checked his instruments. He was the only one in the vehicle that wasn't with the S.T.A.R.S. unit. He was nominated to join, though, so Enrico was using this mission to train him. "We're about three klicks away, sir. Should be about ten minutes."
"Seven," the co-pilot said. Edward Dewey was the official Bravo Team pilot, but for this mission, he was serving as co-pilot. "Come on, Dooley, we're the local badasses, so we need exact time. And we could go faster if we were flying higher." Kevin blushed and pulled back on the control stick, raising the nose up towards the sky.
Rebecca leaned back in her seat and tried to relax. She was in the company of five trained police officers. And she wasn't exactly a rookie herself. If anything went wrong, they should be able to handle it.
That, and most of them had pokémon. When new officers joined, they were given the option of working with a pokémon. Many didn't use the city-issued breeds, preferring to catch their own, and some preferred a gun to a creature when it came to combat. In fact, the only other people that had pokémon with them were Richard and Enrico. Since Rebecca wasn't exactly the best shot in the world (which is why she opted to be a medic), she had accepted the provided pokémon. She chose a vulpix, and named it Fox. She had worked and trained with him, developing him into a suitable team member. She stroked the pokéball on her belt, gaining some comfort from it.
All that comfort disappeared with a loud bang.
The helicopter shuddered violently and started dropping. The whistling wind and the rattling engine made an incredible amount of noise. Enrico leaned up front and had to yell in Kevin's ear to be heard. "What's going on!"
"Engine failure!" Kevin grunted. The g-forces made it hard for him to talk.
"Emergency landing, now!" Edward yelled.
The barrel of Richard's shotgun flew up to the ceiling. Richard quickly reached up to grab it and wrapped up all his gun parts, hugging the bundle to his chest. Kenneth and Forest stared at each other, while Enrico watched Kevin and Edward work the controls. Rebecca grabbed onto to the first handhold she could find and tried not to throw up.
The helicopter dropped rapidly, straight into the trees. The branches buckled beneath it, but one stubborn limb caught it on the tail and sent the helicopter into a spin. All Bravo team could do was hang on until the helicopter landed with a bone-rattling crash.
Dirt and dust flew up into the air, choking the team. "Status!" Enrico coughed.
"One up," Forest said.
"Two up," said Richard.
"Three up," Edward said.
"Hang on." Kenneth reached down and pulled a twig out of his arm. "Four up,"
"Five up," Rebecca said. She pulled a first aid kit from the wall and pulled out a bandage.
"Six up," Kevin said.
"Everyone out," Enrico ordered. "Fan out around the crash site."
Soon the group had established a circular perimeter around the site, kneeling with weapons pointed towards the forest. The only exceptions were Rebecca, who was bandaging Kenneth, and Kevin, who was trying to make contact on the radio. Richard quickly assembled his shotgun, kissing it before turning his eyes to his surroundings. Forest had his sniper rifle slung over his back, preferring to use his M-16A2 for medium range combat. Kenneth had a SPAS-12 combat shotgun, with extra shells in small holsters lining the butt of the weapon. Enrico and Edward both used M-4s, while Rebecca and Kevin had been issued M9 Beretta pistols. Between the seven of them there was enough ammo and firepower to clear a large house.
"Alpha Team, Bravo Team. Alpha Team, Bravo Team."
Enrico left his position to talk with Kevin. "Raise anyone?"
"No, sir." Kevin tapped the dented radio console. "It's about as broke as it can get."
"Okay, then. Bravo, new plan." Enrico raised his voice slightly so they could all hear him. "Kevin, you stay with the chopper and do what you can. Since the radio's out, you can start with the engine." Kevin nodded and crawled into the passenger compartment to reach the toolbox.
"Everyone else," Enrico continued, "will be doing recon. I want to know about every rock, tree, and crazy psychopath within a three hundred meter radius of this spot. No one goes alone."
They divided up. Richard and Edward went west, while Kenneth and Forest went north. Rebecca paired with Enrico, both of them going south. "I'll yell if I need anything!" Kevin said.
Surprisingly, Rebecca and Enrico only had to walk for a couple minutes before they found a dirt road. "Which way, sir?" Rebecca asked.
Enrico pointed behind her. Rebecca followed his gaze. The road curved into the woods, but Rebecca could see a bright white light shining through the trees. She turned back to Enrico to say something, but he put a finger to his lips, the universal signal for silence. Together, they stepped down the road, walking in faded car tracks to avoid the gravel. They came around the curb with weapons drawn.
A van was flipped over on the side of the road. The light had come from the high beams, indicating that this was a recent accident. Supporting that theory were the two dead men still bleeding all over the dirt. Rebecca ran to them but Enrico quickly pulled her back.
"Assess the situation before you run in," he reprimanded. "Now, what do you see?"
Rebecca slowly looked around. The van was black, and the doors were smashed in. The letters MP adorned both sides of the vehicle. The windshield was also smashed, and glass was everywhere. But, Rachel didn't see any sign of danger. She looked at Enrico, who nodded. "Situational awareness," he said. "Now, we can investigate."
Rebecca went to inspect the bodies while Enrico checked the van. Both victims were dressed in military fatigues and Kevlar armor. The men had injuries similar to the homicide victims. One had deep scratches running across his face, while the other had his vest and upper torso ripped open. The fact they were dead meant they were beyond help, so she uttered a quick prayer and moved on.
Enrico crunched across the glass, bending low to look in the passenger seat. The chair was torn to shreds, and there was a bloody trail leading to one of the men. He ran his hand over it. It was still wet. The man had been dragged outside the car through the windshield, where he was presumably killed. The driver seat was undamaged, suggesting the driver had already been dead when he was removed. But that didn't explain what had driven the van off the road, let alone flipped it. There weren't any ditches on the sides of the road.
Enrico looked up at Rebecca to see her holding something. He went to take a look. She was holding an officlal-looking document with another man's picture on it.
"'Court order for transportation: Second Lieutenant Billy Coen, of the United States Marine Corps. Court martial: sentenced to death July 22. Prisoner to be transported to Oregethon Base for execution..."
"Those poor soldiers," The rest of Bravo team had walked up without Rebecca noticing. Edward grabbed the document and inspected it. "They were good men, just doing their jobs. And that scum murdered them and escaped."
"Alright, team," Enrico said. "This isn't the landing site, but we're here, and we have a job to do. Spread out and survey the area. Our friend is brutal and ruthless, so keep your guard up."
Rebecca was feeling nervous again.