intro ;; I've been playing AoT like no tomorrow, and I can't get enough. Its so fantastic, I love it. Especially playing with your girlfriend, which makes the game so much better, as anyone reading this can probably agree with. Of course, despite playing together, there are times when you have no idea where you are in the game and you're yelling at your partner to hurry up and come get you because you ran across a bomb despite the irritating warning beeps. Enjoy. ~

Heavy fire rattles across the gap, chipping weathered concrete from the blockade. Pressing his back against the cool man-made stone, sweat dripping down his face behind the steel mask, P90 rifle gripped tightly to his chest, Salem's breath comes out heavy, fast. Rios was nowhere in sight. Calling to him had proven futile. Only mortar rounds answered Salem's increasingly irritated cries for help. His ears pick up the silence that suddenly falls, and he hitches to his knees, nearly pitching forward onto his face as he props himself against the barricade to face his intended target. His gun points directly at the fire, and as soon as a face pops over the barrier, his finger slams the trigger back mercilessly. His muscles instinctual flinch as the enemy's head bursts into a cloud of red, but it is quickly quelled by gunfire from his right. He drops to the sand, holds his breath until the fire is gone.

"Rios!" he shouts desperately in the silence as the enemy reloads. He hears no response, and he feels his stomach drop. Without much thought, he sets his P90 on the barricade, pulling the trigger, hearing his way to the enemy. Bullets pound into the barriers before emptying into thin air, a sure sign he was close to the kill-shot he needed. Blind fire, suppressing fire, worked better in pairs. Twos, really. And Salem was down to a one-some with himself. Too many enemies, not enough time.

He didn't take to thinking about a mission, he did them quick and efficiently. Thinking can become a hell of a lot of trouble, so why do it? But something Rios said earlier made him double-guess himself. "Remember that ambush in Kabul?" Sure he did, who didn't? It made national news, swept small-town newspapers. Soldiers got remembered that way. Salem paid that much attention, at least. "Those men were off the radar. How did anyone know where they were?"

"How the fuck should I know?" Salem growls, pulling the gun back as fire hits his barrier once more. A flake of concrete jumps onto his shoulder, falling off in a moment. "Fat lot of good thinking did us, huh, asshole? Still didn't help us see this fucking mess." He knows it wont take long before the terrorist-cock-suckers figure out he's out of the game and come around for the final shot. His armor can take a shot, he can take point-blank fire and still get up, but a kill-shot with no protection wouldn't, couldn't, bode well. Not in this life.

"Rios, I need some help!" he shouts, his voice drowned by heavy fire. Heavy fire moving closer. His stomach clenches tightly, hands grip the gun, he realizes, This is what fear feels like. He's never been in a situation like this. Never had a moment of fear that Rios wouldn't be there to back him up. Having it rush through him sets his nerves on fire. The gunfire stops, his breath catches in his lungs, and he hears footsteps crunch towards him. He raises his gun, props it against his wounded shoulder. No use for it after the fact, right?

"No pain, no game, fucker," he snarls as the man looms over the barricade. Salem balks for a moment, staring up into the barrel of a gun, a man taller than himself, and his breath stops all together. He's seen images like this. Soldiers in Iraq leaning over barricades, shooting rabid, stray dogs as they lay dying in the dirt. The dog always knows its time is up, it always looks up at the soldier with eyes that plead, "Kill me, if you know what's good for me, kill me." The images storm the nation, on animal rights posters across the globe. Salem knows the feeling of the mongrel looking up at the barrel, but he knows the look behind his mask is one of stern determination. His finger pulls the trigger in a hairsbreadth moment. The gun clicks on empty.

The executioner in rags hitches suddenly, gunfire erupts from behind him, his head explodes in a halo of red. Salem stares, bewildered. It makes no sense, and he pulls the trigger of his gun once more, hearing the hollow click. Empty. A shadow falls across him, hands are suddenly on his shoulders. His head snaps up, looking at the man above him. Rios grins down, at least Salem thinks he's grinning, the way the corners of his eyes are scrunched up, and crouches over his injured partner.

"Didn't think I'd forget about you, did you?" he asks gruffly.

Dumbstruck, Salem mouths words behind his mask. Rios rummages through his pockets, pulling out a syringe. Without warning, he plunges it into Salem's good shoulder, and the younger soldier finally gains words. "Ow! You fucking did that on purpose!"

"Shut up, wimp," Rios grumbles, quickly wrapping Salem's wounded shoulder. "You good to go, or do we have to call in the medic?"

Salem tested his arm, feeling the bite of the bullet left in his shoulder. "They'd be better than you," he says, pulling his gun to him. "I'm out of ammo."


"Trigger happy."

"Get that under control. You ready to move out?" Rios asks, smacking Salem's backwards cap.

"Ready if you are."

"Good. Lets go."