Hello again everyone. I'd like to let everyone know for those who missed it that there has been a revision to Chapter 26 for reasons of proper character development, interpersonal realism and for the sake of establishing a proper president. As mentioned in the edited chapter I felt that the Ghost/Trudy lemon was far too premature and would have derailed both characters, in addition to the fact it felt rushed upon rereading, so I made the difficult decision to hold off on that particular lemon scene until a later point in the story when it feels more natural and right in the narrative. The characters may want to be together with their love interests but they also want to make sure they are treated well and realistically, and in this case I had stumbled in that regard.

While there will be lemon scenes of both Yuri and some Het in WR141, they will happen in due time and will not be rushed; I aim to ensure they are crafted in ways that feel natural and right to the characters and are handled with as much tact and forethought as possible. I'm highly critical of my work; if I find that if something I had written has potential of damaging the narrative and characters I seek to record, then revisions may be in order. With that said, we will likely see Simon and Trudy's actual lemon take place but it will have to come at a point when it feels right for the characters and narrative, and upon retrospect to have it now would be too early and would feel rushed. So I recommend that everyone re-read chapter 26 so that they can see the revised ending, but never fear; love will still find its way into the WR141.

With that elephant in the room out of the way I'd like to give a shout out to my friend and fellow writer blaze92x45 for helping me out with getting my creative flow up and running again. The two of us have known each other for a little over a year and have been working together and helping each other out with the others stories in addition to collaborating and brainstorming possibilities for our stories and future writing projects. If you all enjoy WR141, please be sure to check out blaze's stories The Clocktower and see just what the SW and COD characters will be experiencing within the Clocktower verse and Iron Within which takes place in the same verse. Be warned that both blaze's story as well as my own will be coming from different paradigms and interpretations not only of the Neuroi but of outlooks on life in general. If anything though, it will be fascinating to see how two writers can interpret two series in two completely different ways, so be sure to give The Clocktower a read, as well as Iron Within.

Thanks again for the support. Time to get the story Oscar Mike.


Tracking...Private James Ramirez...

Affiliation... Hunter-2-1 75th Ranger Regiment, Fire Team-2...

Romagna... East of the Venezia- Romagna border...

Status: Two days prior to Darya's assignment to Duty Desk; Five seconds after rune transportation from New York...

James found it abundantly clear that interdimensional travel was proving to be a stressful pain in the ass and overall a weird trip. This time, while flailing through the air after being randomly spat skywards some thirty or forty feet however, he also found it to be potentially dangerous. Other flailing body's end up moving alongside him through the air, shouts and cries of terror ringing out. He felt his body impact the roof of a building with both the momentum and the forces of gravity pulling him towards the edge as brick shingles followed him. Letting loose a sting of curses he grabs hold of the steel rain gutter. Two screaming body's pass on either side of him; one was his sister grabbing hold of his belt and combat rigging as she belted out a series of foul language that Marines are known for, dangling off her brother with a death grip above the ground some four stories high. The other was of the Russian who tried to skewer the Ranger mere moments ago with his AK mounted bayonet, his body falling to the pavement below, with a sickening impact soon following.

A large splash also followed, looking back James could see a Russian T-90 fall into a nearby cannel that was reminiscent of Venice. As a matter of fact, he figured that he must have been in the alternate version of Venice, though at the moment his thoughts were more focused on the fact that he and his sister were now dangling from the edge of a freaking roof twenty feet up.

Laymen, Zander and Morgan also wind up flying through the air and hitting the roof; as the three men wound up drawing close to the ledge, both Laymen and Zander manage to get to their feet in time to try and leap to the cannel in hopes to avoid becoming human pancakes on the pavement, their feet pushing off the edge of the roof in desperation, while Morgan manages to also grab hold of the same rain gutter James held on to. James isn't able to see exactly where Laymen and Zander are but he hears a pair of splashes behind him, though there was a second and a half of delay between the two.

"Holy sweet Jesus, what the hell!?" Carmen exclaimed in panic while holding on to James for dear life. "Where the fuck are we?!"

"Is that a trick question?" he responds with a combination of mild concern and flat deadpan. While he clung to the steel gutters he could feel his arms burning and straining to hold on. He could feel his M4A1 poking into his leg as it dangled from his sling.

"I'm fucking serious!" Carmen barks in frustration, clearly in no mood for James's snarky remark.

"Well, knowing our luck we're back in the other reality. Looks like Romanga to me. And knowing the whole canals sitting pretty behind us; we're in Venicia."

Carmen looks down, her already firm death grip on James tightening. "Oh god, don't let go okay; it's going to be a long fucking fall otherwise!"

Morgan tries to get himself up onto the roof and off the ledge, groaning as he tries to get up. "Okay, this: this right here, is NOT fun."

"Are you okay?" James asks.

"I think so." Morgan manages to help himself onto the roof of the building, and then proceeds to attempt helping James and Carmen. He reaches out to Carmen first. "Here, take my hand, I've got ya."

James made sure his sister was safely on the roof, the muscles of his arms were burning as if they were on fire. Once she was safe they both pulled him up next, the trio take a moment to catch their breath but pretty soon they can hear a cry of pain coming from the direction of the canal. The three American's look to the waters and see Zander being held above the waterline with Laymen beneath him. Zander seemed to be in terrible pain.

"Hey, what's wrong?! Is he wounded?" James called out to the Ranger holding his buddy aloft.

Laymen looked up to the roof at James and responds with urgency. "I think he broke his spinal column; when we made the jump I heard his hip hit the concrete road adjacent the canal before he hit the water! He could barely keep his head up!"

"I can't feel my legs!" Zander cried. "I can't move em; I'm paralyzed! I'm fucking paralyzed!" It was clear that the young man was distraught over his injury.

James noticed some gondolas that were docked nearby and motions over to them. "Get him out of the water and into one of those gondolas! " While Laymen starts carrying out the guidance that James gave the Private then got on his head set radio and sent out a transmission to the other squads. "Hey, we're going to need a head count. Everyone sound off and let us know you're still okay, how copy?"

One by one American Rangers and Marines sound off, most of the remaining squads are still combat effective, though two marines and a ranger were confirmed KIA after they fell off of a roof of a building to the pavement below. James, Morgan and Carmen manage to find their way off the roof and into the domicile where a surprised family had started making lunch, the trio apologizing for intruding and warning them to stay behind solid cover and not to go outside. After hustling through the building they come to the door, to which they quickly stack up. Morgan takes a quick glance outside the door frame and then turns back to James.

"Shit, got a Russian squad across the channel. About ten guys in all. Looks like they're tripping out."

Carmen scoffs. "Fuck sake, that's all we need. Is that it?"

James makes a even toned groan, unsure of the situation. "Unlikely, must have been a crap ton more of them portaled into this world." He sighs deeply. "I really don't want to have our worlds problems making a mess for the people in this reality; they have enough shit to deal with thanks to the Neuroi. They shouldn't have to worry about people killing each other on top of it."

Carmen shoots an urging look to James. "Then lets fucking waste those Russian bastards then. One less squad causing problems for these people."

"Yeah, you know it." James gets on the radio. "Hey Laymen what's your status, are you and Zander good?"

"Yeah, were in a gondola but Zander is hurt bad, man."

"Well it's going to get worse. Glass the other end of the canal, we've got a Russian squad of ten guys. Do you think you can suppress em?"

"Erm... I think so... I've got line of sight if nothing else."

"Alright, on my mark you guys suppress em while we get to a better firing position, how about it?"

Thiers's a moment of pause before Laymen responds. "So, you're the guy calling the shots amongst us privates then, huh?"

James tilted his head. "Well so far I'm just going off my gut, and it's kept both me and you guys alive up till this point."

"Alright, I'll give you that." The Ranger allowed. "I'm just hoping that gut of yours is consistent."

"Guess we're about to find out. On my go you guys..." James took a deep breath, then began to count off. "Three...two..." Before getting to one however, a couple laser beams suddenly cut a swath of destruction that ravaged the Russian squad and surrounding buildings, catching everyone by surprise. Confused Venician civilians bleated and screamed as Neuroi flew overhead with a pair of witches in hot pursuit, the civi's running for cover or hitting the deck. The surviving members of the Russian squad also started screaming and the squad leader ordered his surviving comrades to get out of the street. James saw them running and gave the order, charging out of the building with his sister and Morgan following close behind. "Shit! Shoot now! Shoot now!"

James and his fellow Americans opened up on the last surviving members of the squad and though they returned a brief bout of fire the three Americans quickly killed them as they tried to run towards a building. The sounds of more civilians bleating out in panic and shouting in confusion were heard. Some civilians that were still in the street could only look on slack jawed at what they had just witnessed: the sight of two strange squads of two human armies firing upon each other instead of the Neuroi was something that they were having a difficult time taking in. From how things in this world were explained to him and the others on their first week here, James reasoned that human on human warfare was an infrequent rarity, no doubt thanks to the Neuroi. When James, Carmen and Morgan passed one civilian he flinched and backed out of the way in abject fear at the three American's. Once at the Gondola with Laymen and Zander sitting in it they noticed the other members of their squads that had been nearby when they got portled into this world approaching from alleys and though buildings.

Sergeant Vaun took a knee along with the other Aerican Ranger's and Marines, all of which were looking quite pale. "So...what's the word?" He asked shakily. "What exactly is going on around here."

James inhaled evenly. "Well Sarge, aside from the fact that Zander is now paralyzed from the waist down were now in a city that's got our enemy in here along with us, plus Neuroi stirring shit up."

A Marine Corpsmen nods. "I'll go check his condition out." He hustles over to where Laymen and Zander were located and began performing some battlefield triage on their wounded man.

A Marine took a seat, looking shaken at seeing Neuroi laser fire for the first time. "Fuck man, I saw four of our guys get hit by those things. First they were there and then...just poof!"

"What the hell's a Neuroi?" Vaun asked James, looking absently at the city. It appeared as though he was at a loss.

"The Alien guys responsible for the lasers." James responds flatly. At this the other Fire Teams of Rangers and the Marines murmur and mutter under their breaths, a few of them commenting that they now had fallen into a demented wonderland. James looked questioningly to the Marines Sergeant. "So what should we do then Sergeant?"

The Marine that outranked James by two whole stripes still looked like a lost child in the middle of a crowded mall. "Erm... uh... we should... try and rally... um..." He clearly had no idea what to do, struggling to come up with orders. After a moment of shuddering he finally shrugs in defeat. "Fuck I don't know! I haven't trained for something like this, hell; none of us have trained for something like this!" Realization then hits him. "Wait a sec, you've dealt with this scenario before, right Private?"

James nods. "Yeah, well... a week's worth of experience at least." he admits.

"Hell, a week's worth of experience is better than my Two minutes and forty seconds worth any day. You have the most experience with this world and those...alien whatever their called's. Since you're the one with most experience with this sort of situation, I'm deferring to you for advisement Private: so what do you suggest we do."

James blinked for a moment, trying to take in the fact that even now a higher ranked NCO was deferring to him for advice. Unfortunately he knew he didn't have much time to think through that right now and tried to impart what little knowledge he gleaned while training in this world, starting first with the fact the Russian's are now in this world and what the American's would have to deal with. "For the Russians, well, business as usual for them, but also make sure you watch for civilians and make sure they are safe: they've likely never seen two human army's trading blows so they might end up gawking unless we get their heads down for them."

"And the Aliens?" One Ranger asked. Everyone traded brief murmurs with each other. They also wanted to know how to deal with the new threat that they had to face.

"On our own: we stay mobile and keep out of their effective range." he explained. "Avoid direct engagement: we go head to head and barrel to barrel up close with the Neuroi then we're fucking atoms. Unless we've got anti-armor weapons, HEAT rounds or incendiaries, maybe armor, artillery and air support then our small arms aren't going to do much, at least not in our hands. Anything bigger then the smallest of these guys we won't have enough ammo to kill, and even the bigger guys we won't make a dent in, even with armor, arty and air cover, or so we were told. Me and one of the guys that was portaled here from our world learned that if you want to survive in this world fighting Neuroi: then you get your ass behind the ass of a witch. They are the only real effective Neuroi countermeasure."

Corporal Fitz blinks. "A witch?"

"Little girls with big guns, animal ears and tails, planes and tanks on their legs and no pants" James wordlessly explained. "You can't miss em."

There was a long pause of silence at that. "Sounds like something the Japanese would have come up with." A Ranger groans, to which many of the Americans voiced their agreements. Clearly the imagery was to many of them a brain twister.

Carmen gestures eastwards. "We saw a pair of those girls chasing a couple of the aliens down that way. Ya think we can raise em on the Radio?"

James shrugged. "Well, they have intercoms, so yeah, providing we find the radio frequency they are on."

Vaun turned to the other American troops . "Then we do that, everyone set your headsets to different frequencies and try and send a message to these... erm... witches... so they know that were here and what the situation is." After receiving orders all the soldiers quickly start to sift through their radio channels and trying to raise the witches. For the next two minutes it's just an endless parade of mostly static.

Eventually Morgan nudges James and gestures at his comms. "Hey guys, I think I've got something: switch to 10.2." Upon switching to the radio frequency in question the fire teams are met with a sudden voice that James remembers very well.

"Roger that that Flight Lieutenant, the 501st and 78th will be there in under a minute." It was Shirley's voice. Hearing then Liberion girl's voice was refreshing.

Another voice, one he didn't recognize, responds. "Thank you for the assist Captain Yeager. However, Pattie and I have another problem besides the Neuroi: Angie was shot down by a Diomedia class a while ago and we haven't heard from her. She crash landed some place near the residential center of the city due west of our position. We need someone to go and help her!"

At this point Carmen had a sudden look of worry on her face, her hand quickly shot to her radio and she spoke. "Do you girls need some help?" she asked. Some of the Rangers and Marines had looks that ranged from perplexed to completely deadpan, a couple of them asking what she was doing.

Shirley's voice responds with confusion. "Huh? Is someone else out there? Could you identify yourself please?"

James got on the radio and began to transmit. "Hey, Shirley, it's James. I-"

Shirley cut him off in excitement. "James?! Well I'll be damned, your back here and kicking? You couldn't keep away now could ya?" A lot of the other girls also spoke with pleasant surprise over the comms channel. It sound like they were exited to hear the young ranger again, even despite it being unexpected.

"That's one way to put it. Good to talk with ya again Yeager."

Lucchini was ecstatic to hear the younger Ranger's voice. "Yay! James is back! Maybe now things will get fun around base again!" she said giddily.

James smiled at hearing the little Romangan over the radio channel. "Hey sport, how are you holding up?"

"Great! Now with you around here I'll get extra motivated to kick some Neuroi butt!"

James's smile soon faded and he got back to business. "Hey Shirley, we overheard that you girls got a witch in trouble somewhere in the city. We can try and help you out if you want." At this most of the Ranger's and Marines seemed to be less than thrilled about the prospect. James continued, however, giving Shirley a warning. "Listen though, you'll be having another problem besides Neuroi: I can't speak definitively on it but there's possibility around a company of Russian troops down here."

"Some help would be appreciated, but these Russian guys, are they hostile?" The Liberion asked.

"They should be handled as if they are, so where's your girl; we'll find her."

One of the Ranger's looked incredulously at James. "You want us to walk though this freaken place with a bunch of those alien things out and about?! Fuck that! I signed up to kill Russian's man, not to play out a scene out of a damn sci-fi movie!"

A Marine nods in agreement. "Yeah, I'm with Ranger boy on this one. I'm not going to risk my ass getting lasered off by those fucking things."

Carmen shot an angry look at the Ranger and Marine in question. "What's the matter with you two?! Thiers no fucking way I'm going to leave some kid alone out here with Russian's and aliens breathing down her neck! Our job is to help people and that's what I intend to do; so fucking grow a pair and square your shit away!" Both men flinch back at Carmen's biting words, then deflate a little in shame. Carmen got on the radio again. "This is Carmen Ramirez of the 4th Marine Division. You tell us where your girl is at and we'll go get her for ya."

"Ramirez?" Shirley had a tone of surprise in her voice, probably from the fact that apparently James had a sibling. "Well, yeah that would be great actually. We'll try and clear up any Neuroi in this sector while you go get her. I'm not sure where they came from but they are look like they intend to do some damage. We won't let them."

"Roger that, we're Oscar Mike." Carmen looked to her fire team members who looked hesitant, for a minute, but seeing as Carmen was the Fireteam leader that they knew where this was going to go. "Waters, Keller, Kline, we're going to go save this girl before the bad guys find her. Any objections?" The three Marines exchange glances but remain silent for a moment. After the moment passes, the trio eventually give a response in the affirmative.

James gave his sister a pat on the shoulder. "My Team will come with you as well. We'll keep you covered, help get this girl to safety." He looked to Bossley, Sung and Summers and they gave a nervous nod. So far James was keeping them alive, so they knew he must have been doing something right. But James could see the fear in their eyes; he had to make sure that he brought these three men back home alive.

Morgan speaks with determined firmness. "Sandler, Grigsby, DeRidder and I will help cover you two and your teams."

Carmen smirks for a second then clenches her jaw, a fire burning in her eyes. "Then what the hell are we waiting for?! Let's get our asses in gear, Oorah?" Carmen is quickly on point with her her team following close behind her and Morgan's squad following suit.

James turns to Vaun and motions over to where the Marine Corpsman was treating Zander. "Zander will need some big help with his paralysis, Sergeant. Drop a line to the witches and ask for Yoshika Miyafuji; she'll be able to use her healing magic to help get him back in shape." James got to his feet and motioned to his team. "Let's go you guys."

As James started to head off after Morgan and Carmen's squads Vaun looked at James with raised eyebrows. "Wait, healing magic? What?!"

"Trust me, I've seen her in action. It may take some time but she can pull it off. We'll be alright, keep your powder dry in the meantime." With that, James lead his team to rescue the downed witch. Deep in his bones the stress of anticipating Neuroi combat was wracking him, but at least the girls he had come to respect had his six out here. It was only fair he'd watch theirs in return.


Tracking...

Cryska...

Task Force 141 - Disavowed...

Undisclosed Location somewhere in Ethiopia, Africa... Two days prior to Darya's assignment to Duty Desk...

Status: Preparation's for upcoming mission taking place, all Task Force and Loyalist Personnel on standby...

Today was turning out to be a good day. Cryska had managed to find some exceedingly beautiful girls to have fun with within the compound. Despite protests from most of the girls that she had gloped onto, and in the case of making an attempt with Kiza which actually resulted in her being chased around the safe house by a rather irate Russian soldier, Cryska did find two girls that she managed to have a good time with; one she managed to get to home plate with last night and today she and another girl dry humped in the halls until one of the senior NCO's stopped the fun. But overall she still felt like it was a good day; so long as she had the chance to be with a pretty girl in some way, shape or form then she believed it to be worth the trouble.

After walking through halls of the estate that served as the safe house the Russian woman entered the kitchen for a quick bite to eat and instead found a particular someone who managed to capture her heart. She saw that Yuna was sitting cross-legged in a chair at the kitchen table and eating from a bowl of what appeared to be rice, her back facing the Russian woman. The bluenette's attention was currently focused on her meal; a perfect opportunity. With a wide smile, Cryska slowly began to approach, silently moving into the kitchen, making sure she didn't make a sound. While approaching she noticed that Yuna had just finished the rice, set the bowl aside and began drinking a cup of green tea that was resting within reach of her. Cryska inched bit by bit forward as Yuna set the cup down, sighing in contentment. With her hands behind her back, Cryska managed to sneak her way directly behind Yuna and leaned forward.

As Cryska was planting a tender kiss upon Yuna's head the Ranger sniper spoke knowingly. "Yeah Cryska, can I help you?" she asked.

Cryska giggled as she finished kissing her love's head. "Ah, so you knew it was me? Your very good; I'm impressed."

Yuna scoffed. "Yeah, I could sense you coming from a mile off." she stated.

Cryska moved around the other girl and leaned forward on the kitchen table. "So you managed to hear me entering the room then? You must have exceptional hearing."

"Actually I could hardly hear a footstep from you moving through the kitchen, you have the feet of a fox."

She had a look of confusion on her face. "Really? Well if you couldn't hear me approaching how did you know it was me?" After a moment of thought a smile envelops her features. "Ah, it must have been the kiss then, I'm flattered that you could tell who I was from just a simple kiss."

Yuna lightly shook her head. "Naw, I knew it was you before the kiss." Cryska blinked and raised her eyebrows in surprise, clearly she was confused at this. The idea that Yuna knew it was her before even kissing her while being unable to hear her enter the room was something that she could not even begin to fathom. And yet... she was intrigued. The Japanese-American took notice of the fascinated look that was likely in Cryska's eye's and explained. "You have a certain... energy... that's unique to you. I could feel it coming up behind me and I was able to recognize it from when we both met each other a few days back. That's how I could tell."

"Fascinating!" Cryska had spoken with genuine, sincere amazement; with the advent of having met Gertrud: who was a witch from another world; she was willing to be open to the possibility that the Ranger's explanation was truthful. She promptly moved to the other side of the table directly across from the operator and rested her arms upon the table top. She wanted to speak to the blue haired Ranger, get to know the mind behind that beautiful face, body and hair, she figured that it may help in winning her dear Yuna's heart. "Please tell me: how is it that you've developed such an amazing skill, my love?"

Yuna thought on that for a moment, then shrugged. "Well, back when I was starting elementary school I read a book that talked about Buddhist theology and Daoism and one of the things they talked about was meditation and the benefits it had. I sort of liked the idea of sharpening the mind, developing the spirit, and when I got older I just got more into the whole idea. I started meditating at a young age and I've been at it ever since. So far it feels like it has worked for me; it feels like I have been sort of growing and developing on some level, ya know?"

"Ah, I see. I can tell that it provided you with great benefits, it's quite clear to see in my opinion." Cryska then studied the Ranger for a moment. "I don't think I've asked, but I have been wondering: you said you were a Ranger? Was there any reason as to why you would want to apply for such a role? I'm a little curious."

Yuna gave a smile. "Well, I wanted to do more then find a cushy job in civilian life: to be honest in my teen years I was bit of a nonconformist; whatever was considered the norm in high school I wanted nothing to do with. Swam against the current of the river so to speak. Not to mention that applied to my home and family life for that matter. I wanted to try and find who I was, so I tried to figure myself out." After a pause she makes a deadpan amendment. "Operative word being tried. My parents, some of my teachers and my assorted classmates and peers had a field day with my sorry ass, but hey: what can you do right? Just had to worry about what I could control, not what I couldn't."

Cryska nods with a passive look "That's a healthy way of dealing with such challenges."

She waved it off. "Yeah, but it's all good: I took an interest in military life while I was in high school. I got so interested in that sort of life that I bought a copy of the Art of War and read it front to back every moment I got, spent a lot of nights up late reading each chapter. Once I turned 17 I enlisted with parental consent. From their I got into Ranger school and... well... here I am." Yuna reaches for her cup and drank the rest of her tea, she sighs contently before continuing. "When I joined up in the Military I wanted to do something that helped people. I wanted to become a part of something and fight for something that was bigger than just me and whatever microcosm I was in. Whatever knowledge and skill I had or developed I'd use em to do my job and to not only do it well; but to do good. To take evil out of the world and put good back into it, and to do so with an enlightened mind and an awareness of myself, my surroundings, the world around me and the people living in it. And when it comes to sniping, well; it's my art. My craft. My trade. And I intend to set the highest standard performing it."

Cryska's mouth was agape, looking awe struck at Yuna. She found the Ranger to be beyond fascinating. In complete honesty on Cryska's part, she had initially fallen in love with Yuna because of her physical beauty. From the Japanese woman's tan, well toned skin, to the smile that she wore on her face. Her body was a cute, slim form. Her breasts may have been around a B-cup in size but the few times she groped them Cryska found them to be quite soft and of perfect shape. And it wasn't the only place that was soft for that matter, even though Yuna often batted away Cryska's hands from her beautiful body. By far the best feature of her beloved Ranger on a purely physical aspect was the blue hair: a part of her was still amazed by the fact that Yuna's hair really and truly was blue, not a dye that would wash out in the shower. Her hair was stunning, breath taking, and unique.

But now, after sitting down and talking with her, Cryska found that the women she had fallen head over heels for possessed more than physical beauty: after hearing of how Yuna viewed herself and the world around her, and what motivated her in her life Cryska fell in love with the beautiful heart, mind and soul that lay within the stunning body of this proverbial goddess of war. She decided that the women she sat before was deserving of even greater love and pleasure that was owed. A women like this: must be "Romanced".

She slowly reached for Yuna's hands and took them tenderly in her grasp. A loving look then filled her eyes and she gazed upon the blunnette Ranger. "Yuna, truly you are a woman of wonders; you posses beauty from without and from within." Yuna blinked in surprise, as if unsure as to what to make of this sudden declaration, but what thoughts had likely to have began to form in her mind were seemingly instantly banished when Cryska kissed Yuna once more on her forehead. "I promise my love; from now on you shall receive more than simply heavy touching." the purple eyed Russian said with a warm smile.

Yuna seemed to turn pale for a moment in slight horror, then her face shifted to a flat deadpan. "You're not going to rape me, are you?" she asked flatly.

"Oh, of course not: perish the thought! I would never dream of doing something that hurt the apple of my eye." Cryska insists, then spoke with sincere warmness. "Nay, I intend to treat you as a goddess, my love. I seek to show the women I intend to marry that I shall be a faithful, devoted lover to her. I swear this upon my very life!" Yuna blinked again, but this time her mouth slackened, and to Cryska's amusement a light blushed appeared on her face.

Cryska giggled in seductive amusement. "You look so cute when you're flustered, my love. I hope I get to see more of such a cute face."

Yuna rubbed her forehead a little bit with a perplexed look on her features. She then looked to the Russian apologetically. "L-look, Cryska. I know you mean everything you said, and again I'm flattered... but really; I'm straight. I'm just... not interested in girls like that, and I don't want to see you try and work so hard on a fruitless, romantic venture."

Cryska simply laughed. "Nonsense, you just don't know any better yet, but soon you'll see. I can understand women who are attracted only to other women and I can understand women who are attracted to both women and men, much like myself... " After a pause she then adds. "Although I prefer women; every once in a while a man is nice to bed with but I just like women more: they are so soft and know all the right places to touch in just the right way... but with all that in mind, I can't understand the reasoning of women who limit themselves to only men. Why limit yourself to only one gender solely for the sake of an arbitrary norm. Besides: women know best how to please other women. It's not a man's fault if they struggle with pleasing a women, but really it's a case of simple anatomy. I know that men try hard, but only a woman knows best how to make other girls feel good."

"Is that so?" Yuna asked evenly.

The silver haired sniper nods. "I told Kiza as such when we crossed paths and she explained why she chased after men with big muscles." She smiled with a look of pride. "I told her that I preferred the soft, tender embrace of a women. I tried to convince her to spend the night with me and experiment, but to say she wasn't open to the proposition would be an understatement. It's a shame; she is a tough but still very pretty looking girl. She must have been brought up in a very strict, conservative household. It is such a shame really."

Yuna cocked an eyebrow in confusion. "Wait... you say you want to make me your wife, yet you chase after other girls to have make out sessions with them. You mind explaining that logic to me: because I think I'm missing something here."

Cryska fidgeted a little with her hands, her mouth shifting a little."Well, there are many pretty girls in the world, and I feel that many have been brought up with the closed-minded notion that they should only be romantically interested in men, but in truth a woman doesn't have to be limited by one choice in terms of a partners gender; she has the power of choice to find love in women too. And I feel that I have a duty to show them this truth." Cryska's smile then shone once more, the loving look returning to her eyes. "But when it comes to the person who I wish to spend the rest of my life together with: I wish for it to be you, Yuna."

Yuna seemed to take this in for a moment. The fact that Cryska was hopelessly infatuated with her was likely something that she muddled around with in her mind in confusion, aside from taking in Cryska's reasons for chasing every pretty girl she saw. But to the Russian snipers excitement Yuna wore a smile. "Well as far as ideology's go it's an interesting concept. Way I see it if you find something that brings you happiness and it doesn't hurt anyone then I have no problems with it. If that's what you believe; then more power to you." She then quickly added. "Unfortunately I still might be one of those whom you can discount. I may support the cause of equality for all as well as challenging social norms and tradition, but I just know what I'm looking for in terms of a life partner." She then chuckled. "Though to be honest I'd rather let whatever relationship I have develop over time. Why rush and stress out over stuff in relationships; I'd rather take it easy. Not sweat the small stuff."

Cryska blinked for a moment at a sudden realization of Yuna's character: deep down the apple of her eye was incredibly laidback. Apparently, even if it were an easier scenario with Yuna confessing she did like girls, then she still may have to work all the harder for Yuna's heart; the blue haired Ranger was a women who went things at her own pace; calm, leisurely and somewhat slowly. While her initiative in combat was exemplary in her snap, decisive and immediate decisions, her initiative in her personal life was the complete inverse in comparison. But even with this knowledge gleamed, Cryska wasn't discouraged; this just meant that her success of winning her beloved Ranger's heart would be all the sweeter.

Cryska was positively giddy. Yuna was going to be one of her greatest, romantic challenges. "Ah, very well my dear Ranger. But my oath still stands; I promise that my heart shall be yours and your heart mine. Tis only a matter of time, my love." Despite the amused look of perplexity on Yuna's face as she could only shake her head in disbelief, Cryska knew that if she only took the time, effort, and used just the right romantic touch then she knew that Yuna would eventually come around. A woman like Yuna...such a beautiful woman like her was one that Cryska did not want to have slip through her fingers.

Yuna then had a thoughtful look on her face as she studied the purple eyed Russian. "I gotta say; your one heck of a girl, Cryska: I can't get a solid bead on you as a person in general." But then her mouth hooked into a slight smirk. "But as a sniper I have to say: you're good. Damn good. With the basics you really do have a gift."

To hear such praise of her sniping skills made her glow with pride. "I'm glad that you approve of my skill, my dear Ranger. But you, Yuna: you're Michelangelo with a rifle. Poetry in motion. A thunderstorm on the battlefield. I only hope that my skills may someday reach the plateau you stand upon." She could see her beloved Yuna's face give off a almost faint glow of subtle pride. Cryska couldn't help but feel grateful that she had met with the Ranger. She knew deep in her heart that her beloved will come around in due time.


Tracking... Gary "Roach" Sanderson...

Life is challenging...

This is an inescapable fact, though many would argue just how challenging it could be. The level of each challenge in life varies but Roach found that compared to soldiering duties that trying to learn the ways of Romancing Yuna to be the most challenging obstacle in his life. Back in high school he had crushes on certain girls that he wanted to go on dates with, but the fact he was shaky in trying to approach and win them over resulting in him striking out with them. Now in adult hood his skills haven't much improved by any margin. By now he knew he needed knowledge, and there was only one way he would attain it: research. Much like his formative years, he would once again need to hit the books. For a girl like Yuna, busting his hump would be worth it if it meant he had a shot with his battle sister in arms.

While reading the book that came in a couple days ago the door swings open and Toad enters while using crutches, his foot and lower leg in a cast. The former Marine Sniper slowly makes his way to a nearby sofa, sitting down and groaning mildly. After setting aside his crutches, he sets his wounded leg up on the sofa and lays down, trying to keep off his foot.

Toad groaned. "Well, I'm out of action for a while. Had to see the doc about getting something to take the pain off a little." He dug into his pants pocket and dug out a container of pills. He holds the container up and gives it a light shake, causing the pills inside to rattle around. "I'll have to take two more of these in five hours."

Roach continues reading but responds while he does so. "How long did he say until you heal up?" he asked.

"A couple months, providing I stay off my foot and prevent aggravating my injury. Until then I'm not going out in the field again, apparently." Toad sighs, returning the container of pills to one of his pockets. "You know, this really sucks; it feels like I'm not being useful."

Roach shrugs and turns the page of his book. "A wounds a wound. Unless you take time to heal then you'll end up not being able to do much."

Toad considers this. "I guess that's true." he allows. When he looks over at Roach again he notices the book he was reading. He peered at the book and tilted his head. "Dude, are you reading Dating for dummies?"

Roach pauses, looking up from his book with a guarded expression. After a long pause he responds. "Maybe..."

Toad wears a sly expression on his face. "Oh, you're going to put some moves on a girl then, huh? Who's the lucky lady your vying for?"

"Well... that is to say..." He became a little hesitant to respond, but manages to provide vague answer. "I guess it can be said that it's someone that I feel close to, ya know."

The American operator seemed perplexed for a moment at the response, but after a minute of mulling over his thoughts he had a look of realization. "Dude: it's Yuna, isn't it?"

Roach looks up from his book and at Toad in surprise. "W-wait a minute... what? How do you know?" he asked.

Toad sat up with a wide grin. "She's the only logical answer: You've both known each other for just about four years, and is the only girl I've seen you look comfortable being around for any length of time. About fucking time you tried making a move. I'm glad to see you finally worked up the courage to try and win her heart."

"Well that... and apparently I've got some competition in that regard."

"You mean some schlub is trying to put some moves on Scope?" Toad sounded concerned at this news, like a brother worried about a siblings well being.

Roach looked at Toad and raised an eyebrow. "Never said it was a guy. You don't need me to tell you about a certain purple eyed sniper girl trying to get into the combat pants of every bloody member of the female personnel we're working with."

Toad's eyes widen with a look of shock, his eyebrows rising. "You mean... Cryska?!" However, upon the words leaving his mouth Toad's face dulled. "Wait: why the hell am I even surprised by that? Hell, she was about to start the horizontal mambo with her before you, Soap and Ghost stopped that nutty hedonist." A relieved smile then crossed him. "Ah, well, you've still got a chance by a mile; it's probably not going to be anything serious anyways."

Roach lowered his book to his lap. "Don't be so sure: Cryska said she plans to marry Yuna."

Toad suddenly took an odd, dismissive tone in response."I know: I heard her say something like that, but I'm sure she's just saying that. Seeing some of the stuff she does with other girls, she probably isn't serious when she said it."

Something about what Toad had said and how he said it rubbed the British Sergeant the wrong way for a couple of reasons. Roach's face turned intense and he spoke sternly. "Okay first off: she's dead serious; she told me so herself when I took her aside after she molested Yuna a while back. On top of that, even when she is chasing after other women the second she spots Yuna she is attracted to her like a bloody magnet and ignores every other girl within line of sight. Secondly: well... it's the 21st century mate. Despite what you or anyone else may think; people can get married to someone of the same gender; which means that girls can marry other girls: it's a thing now, and it isn't going away anytime soon."

Toad seemed a bit stunned for a moment, but then seemed to turn a little reserved. "I know, I know... sorry, it's just something that's, well, weird to me and I don't understand it."

Roach recalled a conversation he and Toad had while they were lightly buzzed while on leave for a weak a few years back; the two men swapping life stories with each other as well as Archer, Ozone, Scarecrow and Worm to pass the time, may the four operators rest in peace. "You said once that your parents really didn't like this one friend you brought over to hang out with? What's the difference now?"

"Nothing really... I just...well..." Toad became thoughtful and tried to explain just what compelled him to say what he said, abridging the conversation he had with Roach and the others a while back. "Yeah, this buddy of mine and I were friends since elementary school, but even after hitting high school and he came out of the closet... as hard as my parents tried to make me think that him being that way was wrong; I never saw him as wrong, or bad or any of that shit. I just saw my friend, nothing more or less. Might not have understood it, may have been a little weird to me, but aside from that he was still the same guy I bummed around the playground with." Toad sighed. "I dunno, I guess I still find some part of it weird that somebody would like someone who's of the same gender."

Roach's mouth hooked into a brief frown at this. To Roach stuff like that was a trivial nonissue, although he figured his progressive upbringing helped somewhat in shaping his perceptions. Roach knew that Toad wasn't like most of those who held to faith, who often times had a great amount of anonymity if not outright hostility towards people who were LGBT; in that regard Toad held no hate in his heart for people like that. But even while being a person of Moderate faith, it was apparent that Toad often hit what Roach called "the god ceiling" at times. "I don't find it weird: you love who you love dude. It's a matter between those two people only and isn't anybody's business besides said two people. You and I like girls, and apparently so does Cryska. But, more to the point; she likes Yuna."

Toad cocked his eyebrow in confusion. "Isn't Yuna straight though?"

"As far as I know, but call me cautious. If I intend to be a part of Yuna's life like that then I damned well get my ass in gear and get some knowledge in romancing her."

"Hey, I can help if you want." Toad offered sincerely.

Roach blinked as his battle brother offered to help him. "Really? Have you dated before?"

"A little bit. Had a few dates when I was in high school so I picked up a thing or two. I figure you could get a little extra help instead of just trying to absorb a book." He then grinned cheekily. "Besides, you and Yuna would make a good couple. A weird couple, maybe, but a good couple never the less. Find that loven feeling, get married, have some kids together; it's just meant to be."

"Oh yeah?" Roach asked. After taking a moment to think on this he then ventures a question. "Alright, what would you recommend I do first then?"

"Okay, sweet! Now listen man, you first have to start with the basics: firstly-" Before Toad could continue a set of heavy footsteps approach. Yuri appears at the door of the room and enters, wearing a towel, carrying a bottle of what appeared to be shampoo and a dripping wet. His buzz cut shaved head had a strange substance on his skull that seemed a bit off to be a normal hair cleaning product.

The Russian man was wearing a firm, flat look. "Excuse me, comrades. I was wondering if you both might be able to help me with something? I was just having my shower when something came up that I might need help in figuring out"

Roach slowly and silently went back to reading his book, flipping the page to the part on trying to date girls in their early twenties. Toad cocks his head questioningly. "Sure thing, what can we help ya with?" The Marine Sniper asks.

Yuri held up his bottle of shampoo with motions with it, moving behind Roach as he does so. "I was wondering if either one of you could tell me who was responsible for putting maple syrup in my shampoo bottle?" he demands.

Both Roach and Toad exchanged a brief glance with one another, an unspoken exchange occurring between the two men. Roach gave a momentary smirk that hooked at the corner of his mouth, then returned to a passive expression. Toad proceeded to adopt a poker face as he responds. "Maple syrup? I honestly have no idea."

Roach tries to keep his laugher in. "Yeah mate, no idea."

Yuri's eyes shift over to Roach. "Oh really? No idea? Are you sure about that, because I have heard word from the others that involved certain incidents; the first involving Andrei receiving black rings of face paint around his eyes, transferred from a pair of binoculars, then the entire men's barracks having their beds short sheeted four nights in a row, a bucket of water over the door of Zazar's room that fell upon his head, and someone putting a rubber snake in the beds of one of the female personnel."

"Sounds like you've got a practical joker on your hands." Roach says with amusement. "These many pranks makes you wonder who it could be."

"Yes... although I believe the file of the guilty party in question and the fact Andrie told me that he got the black circles over his eyes after talking to you, I was able to piece the puzzle together." Roaches face shifts from amusement to a flat, foreboding look. Yuri proceeds to overturn the sticky contents of the shampoo bottle on Gary's head, the sticky liquid proceeds to ooze down from his hair down his face and onto his t-shirt. As this is happening Toad is struggling to hold back his laughing, but is failing at it, despite the fact Yuri was shooting a piercing glare at him. Once the bottle's contents have been emptied Yuri gazed firmly at the Sergeant. "That is enough pranks, Sergeant. We tire of your disruptions. And Toad, the next time you speak falsehoods; you'll get what he gets." The Russian man the proceeds to exit the room while muttering something in Russian under his breath, leaving both Task Force Operators alone.

"Damn, he was fucking pissed man." Toad was in stitches by the time Yuri left them alone. "Ah man dude, this is a fucking Kodak moment: don't move, let me get my I-pone." Toad quickly digs out his phone and proceeds to take a photo of his sticky battle brother. "This is almost as good as that time you ran Worms underwear up the flag pole back at Firebase Phoenix."

Roach slowly wipes syrup off his face with one of his hands, musing over the sudden turn of events. "Huh... that's new: I got found out a whole 2 weeks and a half ahead of schedule. He's good."

Toad chuckles. "So, was it worth it?"

Gary Sanderson, the Roach of the 141, set his book on the table, gave a brief smirk then stood up. "Yup. Now hold that thought you had for a minute; I gotta go wash this shit out of my hair."


Tracking... Gertrud Barkhorn...

The targets downrange were waiting for her, patiently standing their post as Trudy was preparing to drill with the weapons that the Task Force had acquired. Three tables with three weapons and three magazines each. Each weapon would be one she would train with. She had acquired new solider skills over the past month that she hadn't even been able to conceive of before, now she had to hone these news skills and pieces of knowledge; it was only reasonable for a solider of Karlsland to train like this. She was a solider of discipline after all, no matter where she was. With her familiar appearing she took hold of the first weapon: an M4A1. She took the three magazines and placed them into the pouches of her rigging. Thoughts of her homeland, her sister and her unit came to her mind as she loaded the first magazine into the carbine, but she sought to banish these thoughts until after she was done shooting.

Another thought that came to her was the events of the night before. Thinking back to how she confessed her feelings to Ghost felt surreal and felt like it was a good thing to do on some level, but the idea of acting so quickly on this made her quite nervous and felt like a rash decision. Thankfully, the choice to take things slow for now with the Lieutenant to Trudy felt like the right one. She didn't need to rush, nor should she. Until she fully sorted thought these conflicting, turbulent emotions she was feeling, then she would tread carefully. The last thing she wanted was do something careless and hurt either solider. That was the last thing Trudy wanted. This felt like the right decision to make...

Sighting her target she proceeded to fire at the target until the weapon ran dry. With the weapon set to semi-automatic firing she depressed the trigger once... twice... three times... four... five. This continued until the weapon clicked empty. Recalling of a technique that Ghost had taught her she decided to implement what he called: "the Tactical reload". With a roll of her hand and a depression of the magazine release the spent mag was ejected from the magazine well and onto the ground, while at the same time this happened Tudy reached for a fresh mag from her chest rig and slapped it in. With a quick tap to the side of the weapon and pulling back on the charging handle she continued to fire the rifle. This went on for a while and the reloading process repeated until she was completely out of rounds. She had struggled at first with this style of reloading for a while; today was the first time that she managed to get it without any major problems with feeding the magazine into the weapon, but her reloading was still on the slow side. She would have to continue training in that regard.

Setting aside the M4A1 she approached the next table where the MK46 lay. It was currently unloaded; first she would conduct a speed loading exercise, then fire the weapon. However, while doing so she found herself thinking back to her squad. More specifically, she thought back to her squad mates. As she began to load the Machinegun her thoughts started to turn to each of the girls of the 501st. She really did miss them. But much to her surprise, she found her thoughts lingering a lot longer on two witches in particular. When Erica and Shirley's faces entered her mind she found her heart strain painfully. She started to wonder why this was...

Why am I thinking about those two at a time like this? I should be focusing on my training, I should be putting my attention towards my discipline. At thinking this she found she wasn't able to banish these thoughts of her two squad mates completely. When it came to Shirley she found her facing turning a bit warm, while she mused over her thoughts in confusion. Yeager. My rival squad mate. That Laidback Liberion and I have always competed with each other. I sought to push myself in my soldiering duties, and Shirley pushed herself in her desire for speed. That's the only things we have remotely in common; pushing our limits, in everything else we butt heads with each other. Could never stand that she took everything so damn casually. She's as carefree as Lucchini. We both share the same rank for crying out loud; she should be showing far more responsibility!

Trudy found that the MK46 was taking far too long than normal to load, probably because her thoughts were currently elsewhere. Growling lightly she finally loaded the weapon and sighted her target. She proceeds to fire short sustained bursts into the target downrange. The weapon thudded repeatedly into her shoulder, though thanks to her magic it wasn't even noticeable; even less so then when she used her MG42' the weapon ran dry and her target was cut clean in two, she found herself gazing at the target for a bit, her weapon lowered as her thoughts of her rival continued to swim in her mind.

Well...she never gets stressed about small matters, that's good a quality... I guess... but I still worry about her as a fellow officer. Will she be able to handle things if Mio and Minna are not on base? Will my not being their distract her or bother the girls so much that she is faced with a greater challenge in maintaining unit cohesion and moral. I just... I just don't know... I hope she can handle things alright... Her face then took a deep blush she recalled the whole jet striker incident and the fact that Shirley managed to save her when she passed out and the unit lost control. T-that time. She did an amazing job when things got that bad. I really do owe her for that. Especially when I was acting so brash and carelessly. Recalling the conversation that was exchanged Trudy felt guilt at the errant, poorly used and hurtful words that she directed at Shirley and how the Liberion girl was so worried for her well being. I... I really did worry her... I don't think I ever saw her that upset before...

Setting aside the LMG she moved on to the M32 MGL. She slowly picked up the weapon as her thoughts then went to Hartman, her squad mate and fellow Karlslanders carefree smile filled her mind, sighing inwardly as she did. Frau... always the slacker. I have to bust my tail trying to keep her in shape, drill some much needed discipline into her .But she... I know a good solider lies inside her but her laziness off the field hinders her. I shudder to think what's happening without me there to motivate her: I'd hate to see all that skill and potential squandered... Trudy found that the M32 was in her hands, the cylinder already swung out and a 40mm grenade in on hand: having been so lost in her thoughts she hadn't noticed that her body was acting on some form of instinct. But the more she thought of Erica the less she felt motivated to continue training. She sighed heavily. Frau I really hope you're not too lax while I'm gone. I know that if you made the effort... that you'd make our country proud...

A realization came to her as she set aside the M32 and the 40mm shell, turned around and reclined against the table. The two of them are by far the most frustrating people I have ever had to work within my military career when we're on our own time. It's beyond me how they can do so well in combat but have no discipline in their personal lives... so why do I miss those two this much? She folded her arms and closed her eyes, her mouth hooking into a frown. She wasn't sure why she was thinking of the two girls that were supposedly a chore for her to deal with, and yet she felt had left a important impact in her life just by being there. They were troublesome comrades at times, but they were in the end dependable friends. But I can still rely on them when push came to shove, after all's said and done. The sudden pain she felt in her heart before returned again. And for the life of her, she didn't know why. Why does thinking about them trying to get by without me hurt so much? She wondered. Why do I feel this way?

It was a question that she would ponder for a while. But the realization as to why wouldn't come until much later...


Tracking... Flying Officer Angela Salas Larrazabal...

Affiliation... 504th Joint fighter Wing Ardor Witches...

Location...Romagna... East of the Venezia- Romagna border, residential district...

Angie couldn't believe the situation she found herself in: she was downed near the residential portions of the city and close to the outskirts. The crash landing banged her up and her left striker unit had been not simply damaged but outright destroyed in the crash, her upper thigh had been stuck with a piece of wood that she took from crashing through the wooden walls, and some glass from a window had caught her in her thigh. The building she impacted apparently served as a sort of mass housing, but it was heavily damaged by Neuroi laser fire. She sat upright in the building her head mildly concussed, and her bleeding leg was throbbing heavily. She cursed herself for her recklessness. Now she had to play the waiting game. Hopefully before Neuroi showed up.

She got on her intercom and sent a transmission. "This is Flying Officer Angela Salas Larrazabal. I am currently held up inside a heavily damaged mass housing complex. I'm wounded and I can't move so well, is there anybody close by to my position?"

Quite suddenly gunfire sounded off in the distance, with some voiced that sounded vaguely Orussian. The gunfire didn't sound familiar to her but she then heard a reply, with the sound of the exact same gunfire she's hearing in the back ground.

"Stand by Flying Officer, you've got help coming. We're just two blocks away from you, just hold out till we get there." The voice was that of a women, one who sounded quite strong and determined.

Another voice spoke up, this time that of a young sounding man. "Be advised, if you hear a set of Orussian voices they are confirmed hostile. Don't let them know your there, and if they do, take measures to defend yourself. We will be there for you in less than five mikes. Out."

This was confusing to the Hispanian: Orussians? Hostile? Defend herself against them? She didn't really understand. Any line of questioning in her mind ends when a laser like cartage blast takes away while little of the wall of the building she's in. She flinches, then turns to see the source of the laser fire. It's then she sees a shape that makes her body tense up and her blood run cold. It was roughly around four times the size of a standard military tank. The body was around 20 metres wide in all four directions – the legs were each around 10 metres long. And Angie noticed the plume of black smoke billowing out from beneath it: Miasma.

This was the dreaded Ballista class Neuroi; a type of mobile artillery that utilized miasma for protection and control.

Around the unit were a squad of large, machine like bipedal beings that didn't look even remotely human . A type of infantry class with seven foot tall bodies. They continued to advance from out of the Miasma cloud. Angie knew that both she and the fast approaching rescue squad was going to be in trouble. She had to ensure it was safe for the approaching rescue squad to take her out of the area. Her training took over: she aimed at one of the infantry type Neuroi and fired a shot. The magically enhanced anti-tank round found it's mark, the Neuroi infantry class exploding brilliantly, its core destroyed. This unfortunately drew attention of the other Neuroi. Angie prepared herself and sighted her next target.

She would be damned before she let these damned Neuroi get their way...


Tracking...Private Carmen Ramirez...

Affiliation... United States Marines, 4th Marine Division, Fire Team-5...

Location...Romagna... East of the Venezia- Romagna border...

Status: Two days prior to Darya's assignment to Duty Desk; 1 hour and fifteen minutes after rune transportation from New York... converging on Angela's crash site. Russian squads encountered, engaging...

"Enemy riflemen, right side by the pillars!" Sandler calls out enemy targets that have taken cover down range of the three American fire teams, taking cover by some archaic Romanian style architecture. Russian small arms fire rake the building that the squad had taken cover in: a small cafe. People indigenous to this world were staring slack jawed at what they were seeing: they had never before witnessed two human forces exchanging fire with each other. They were all standing in the cafe or sitting in their seats, unable to process what was going on. They seemed as if they were statues, frozen in place.

Carmen cursed that they weren't ducking in cover. "What the hell are you all doing?! Get down and take cover." she demands. A nearby cafe patron that was amongst those standing on the floor she promptly yanked by his arm to the floor. "GET THE FUCK DOWN!" She had seen civvies freeze momentarily but not for a full twenty seconds.

An errant round from Russian small arms fire caught a cafe bus boy in the head, a red plume of mist exiting the back of his head and his head pitching back, soon followed with his body falling onto the floor. This seemed to snap everyone out of their slack jawed trance and quickly everyone dove for the floor, covering their heads and crying out in panic. Carmen felt a ripple of anguish course through her at seeing an innocent getting cut down. What soon followed was rage. She was going to make sure that this stranger from a world that was not her own was avenged; undeserving of being caught up in her worlds bullshit.

Morgan cursed after taking a gaze at the killed civilian. "God damn..." he looked to James who took cover by an overturned table with Sung crouched right next to him. "Hey James lets go get these bastards? You up for that?"

James nods. "Yeah, I've got an idea." He turns to Carmen and points to her. "Hey sis, I need you with me for this alright, we're going to get up close to these guys, alright?"

"Oorah, brother." came her prompt response. She didn't even need asking. For her brother she'd kick the ass of any bastard that got in their way. Now was no different. She turned to her fire team. "Waters, Keller, Kline, stay on my ass, you copy?" She gets replies in the affirmative.

"Hey, are you two going to be okay going out there by yourselves? Waters asks with some concern in her voice.

"I'll just take Bossley and Sung with me. The rest of you guys just hold back here and cover us. And be sure you keep these civvies safe." James responds. He turns to his two squad mates and then to Carmen's fire team. "Alright, let's go!"

Carmen and her brother charge out of the cafe and into the street. Upon doing so gunfire from both their comrades and the enemy is exchanged. They approach the enemy position by way of bounding from cover to cover as bullets wiz by them. Carmen takes cover by a civilian vehicle as Russian small arms fire start to stitch their way into the metal body, the tires of the car bursting. She turns to see James take cover by the side of a building.

"Carmen, give me some suppressing fire!" he calls out to her.

"Roger!" She sites her target down range at the Russian position by the fountain and pillars that the Russians had taken cover in. As she keeps their heads down James bounds from the building and moves up to a low wall some twenty meters from the Russian position. She can see him take a quick gaze over the side at the Russians, then rests with his back against his cover just as incoming fire blasts into his position. He brought his M4A1 upright and brought the front of his weapon up and over his cover.

As Carmen continued to give her brother cover fire she watched as he proceeded to blind-fire the under barrel M203. The 40mm Grenade shell slammed into one of the pillars, weakening the stone. The pillar pitched its way onto the Russian's that had taken cover in their position, the men getting crushed to death or pinned beneath rubble. James then proceeded to advance and then finished off any Russian's that weren't killed.

"Alright, hostiles are down. We're clear!" James reports, reloading a fresh magazine and 40mm shell into his weapon.

"Damn good hit, dude." Sung complements.

Bossley scoffs. "More like lucky if you ask me."

"Lucky or not, we better get the lead out." Carmen reloaded her boxmag which at this point out of ammunition, replacing it with a fresh one. It wasn't long before everyone regrouped at the fountain, it Morgan, his fire team and the others joining them. They proceeded down the road to the building that Angie was apparently in. When they got within a forty feet of the target building Carmen motions to a nearby hotel. "You guys take cover here and cover me while I head in. Kline, you're on me, okay, I might need some backup, Oorah?"

Kline nods. "Yeah, no problem, I'll cover you."

James looks over to Morgan. "Get your 240 on the second floor along with Keller and Summers." He looked back over to his sister. "You be careful alright? And remember, if you see the Neuroi: don't pull any of that "take me to your leader" bullshit. It's won't take."

Carmen rolls her eyes. "Yeah, yeah, say's the funny man, I get it. Kline, let's go, stay on my ass." She the moves with Kline following close behind her, the rest of the fire teams taking cover in the hotel. She started to feel that maybe things would go smoothly from this point on but upon getting half way to the ruined building there was something that entered her ears.

First was the sound of a buildings wall being smashed by a Russian tank, followed by its booming report. An explosion from behind her knocked her off her feet, her body sliding a couple meters. The explosion knocked the wind out of her and made her ears ring but otherwise she felt like she was okay. Suddenly something bounced off the helmet that rested atop her head and landed in front of her. In that moment she found herself face to face with the disembodied head of Private Kline. Her eyes locked on her former squad mates head as her stomach promptly twisted itself into knots. It was then she regretted asking him to join her. Her decision to bring him along has cost him his life. His death was on her shoulders.

"Shit! Kline's KIA!" Waters cries out over the comms.

James's voice cries out. "Carmen! Are you alright?!"

"I'm alive..." she responds matter-of-factly. Carmen turned to see the tank straight ahead of her with a squad of Russian's pouring out of the building behind it. They were charging right in her direction, likely to try and take her life, just like they did Kline.

However, the next thing she heard was a loud, monstrous screech that made her wince and the Russian's stagger in mid-stride. What followed next was a flash of light that engulfed the tank. and a few men next to it. The rest of the Russian squad was disoriented by this. Carmen quickly got to her feet and continued to press towards the ruined building. However she had three Russian's following some twenty feet behind her as she entered the structure. As she entered she could hear the sound of a large bore rifle discharge from somewhere inside. Figuring it was the witch she double-timed down the darkened hall. Another discharge went off, this time closer than before. She saw a room at the end of the hall, while at the same time hearing foot steps behind her and yelling in Russian.

At this point she announced her presence to the downed witch. "Friendly coming i-" before she could finnish her sentence she saw a large seven foot tall metal monster mount a ruined wall of the heavily damaged room. It's large, polyhedron shaped head and large arms and even its entire body were black as midnight. The very sight of this... thing... startled the Marine, trying to skid to a halt as the metal figure raised an arm, its hand glowing and pointed right at her. "HOLY SHIT!" she purposely fell backward, in anticipation of the incoming attack.

The Russian voices that cried out from behind her were silenced by the beam discharged by a laser shot by the alien monster, a wet meaty sound going off at her six. The laser had just came mere inches from Carmen's head. Her M249 was still pointed directly at the extra terrestrial enemy and she promptly returned fire, not letting go of the trigger, the weapon staggering her target as it bleated in protest. A large boom sounded and the monster exploded in a brilliant shower of shards.

She then heard a voice just around the corner of the doorframe. "Who's there?!"

Carmen took a second to catch her breath as she stood up and moved into the room. "Ho, shit, that was close." she gathered herself and identified who she was. "Carmen Ramirez, I came to get you out of..." when she entered the room she saw the girl she came to rescue. The girls face was striking to Carmen. She could see in this girls amber eyes that she was a tough mamacita. Her uniform was black with a red undershirt and matching red panties. But the overall image wouldn't have been complete without the girl having the ears and tail of an animal of some kind, the two propeller machines that she saw that one red haired girl wear that one time, added to the fact she was carrying a Panzerbüchse 39. It truly was a sight. "...here." she finished in flat surprise. The most important thing Carmen noticed, however, was the girls wounds; the eighteen year old girl was bleeding through her uniform.

When the girl looked at Carmen she seemed to have a look of stunned surprise, although for the life of her the Marine didn't know why. The girl blinked and then spoke sternly. "You have to get out of here; you're in danger if you stay here. I may have killed all the infantry class Neuroi but there's still a Ballista class left and it's releasing Miasma. You have to leave!"

"Not without you I'm not, you need medical treatment." Carmen put in.

The girls eyes narrowed. "The Miasma will kill you, you idiot, trust me for a mundane person it's a bad way to go." the girl gestured in the direction of the hole that the Neuroi infantry unit was killed, and as plain as day, Carmen could see a large, walker like artillery tank alien that released a large black cloud. That was ominous. Even more ominous was the sounds of more Russian voices coming from behind her. Carmen took up a defensive position at the doorframe and aimed down the hall, also getting to see the hall splattered with blood, save for a Russian corpse some distance down the hall with a neat hole punched into his torso, the smell of burnt flesh sizzling.

"That's not the only problem we've got. Bad guys from my world are coming for us too." she explained.

"Another enemy?" The girls questioned.

"Yeah, Russian's. Bastards invaded my country, and they followed some of my guys here." She looked to the girl with a questioning look, and saw that the girl was confused for a moment. But the young girl's face then hardened as she turned to the alien that she identified as a Ballista. Carmen turned back down the hall, spotting a seven man squad entering. "I'll get these guys, you take care of big ugly."

"Roger."

With that both girls opened up on their enemy's: Carmen unleashed her M249, the light machinegun spitting 5.56mm rounds into the squad as they charged towards her, getting shredded. While this happened the girl fired the Panzerbüchse 39 at the huge alien, the first shot blasting out and the round making a heavy impact that elicited a pained shriek from the alien invader. She followed up with another two shots that hit their mark, the third killing the alien in another brilliant explosion of shards. Upon the aliens death the miasma was slowly beginning to dissipate.

Carmen turned to the girl and found that the girl was now gazing back at her. They locked eyes with each other... she felt a sort of connection with this fellow warrior. And judging from the girls eyes the feeling must have been mutual. After looking at each other for a moment she approached the girl. "Here, I'll help you out of these things kiddo, then I can get you to someone who can patch you up." The girl set aside her weapon and Carmen helped her take off the devices. She then helped the witch up, carrying her bridal style. She looked at her with a perplexed look. "I never did get your name." she stated.

The young witch looked with a measure of firmness at the Marine. "Flying Officer Angela Salas Larrazabal, 504th Joint Fighter Wing Ardor Witches." she responds.

Carmen gives a small smile. "Angela... that's a really pretty name." The girl's eyes widen and her face takes a deep blush in response to the Marine's words. While holding Angela her mouth shifts as a discomforting feeling she felt in her heart appeared its way onto her face. Then her face stiffens, her focus surging forth. "Well, no point standing around here anymore, let's go!" And with that, Carmen made her way back to the others. So much has happened today, and she knew... deep down... it wasn't going to be the end of it.


Tracking... Andrei Harkov...

Affiliation... Russian FSO Agency...

Location...somewhere in the Russian forest, 500 kilometers from Belarus...

Status: Abandoned Crash site, Evading Inner Circle troops...

Night was still upon the FSO agents and their charge. The president's daughter was currently being taken to safety. So far this was good news. However, what was made clear was that Makarov was still steps ahead of them. Although the Disavowed British man, Price, gave them ample warning of the hijacking and made the President and his security detail suspicious of the one helicopter that wasn't replying their radio hails forced Harkov, Zhukov and Pudovkin to take the president to safety, Inner Circle squads tracking them down like hounds for a fox. Now they were hiding behind tree's, waiting for their moment of opportunity.

During their clash with Makarov's men Harkov had gotten his hands on an AK-74U, while Zhukov acquired an AK-47 and Pudovkin a PP90M1. The Russian agent had little clue if the other agents were still alive, or at least those who stayed behind to provide the detail protecting the president's daughter time to escape, but for the moment the worst had to be assumed.

Gazing around the forest Harkhov saw that the coast so far was clear. He motioned to the other two agents as such and Zhukov nods. Zhukov motions silently further into the tree line and the three agents and the Russian president move silently. After several minutes of traipsing though foliage and undergrowth they reach a dirt road.

It seems clear but Harkhov gets the sinking feeling that it won't be for very long. He and the president start crossing as they reach the other side and Pudovkin close behind them they hear vehicles approaching. As Pudovkin gets half way across lights from a small convoy of jeeps and trucks and a BTR shine upon him. Harhkov bit back a curse as Pudovkin turned and tried to open fire on the convoy. He only got ten rounds off before taking three rounds to his shoulder, arm and torso from a Kalashnikov, a pained groan escaping him. The occupants of the vehicles dismount; Inner Circle Troops, with men gathered on either side of the road.

A man with an AK approaches the wounded agent with his rifle leveled and about to perform a killing blow but a man serving as the ranking officer orders him to stand down. "No, keep him alive; he will tell us where the President is, if he is wise." The officer in charge wore a beret and had a look that was of malevolence. The man he gave his orders to nods and roughly handles the man up into a seated position. It was clear that an impromptu interrogation was going to take place. The officer in the beret looked down with an icy smile, first he reaches for his headset and transmits a message "All squads be advised, we have found an agent and have taken him prisoner seven kilometers due west, have patrols doubled in every direction starting from our location. Inform Makarov of our status, my men and I will be interrogating the prisoner for information." After that the man addressed the agent. "So, my friend, I was wondering if you could be so kind as to help us find what we're looking for?"

Pudovkin, looked up at the man with a expression that was a mixture of pain and defiance. "I won't tell you anything, you can go to hell and rot there!" he spat.

The man questioning the agent looked down and scoffed. "Being stubborn will just be hazardous to your health, comrade. I know you are charged with protecting the president, so make this easy on yourself." The man pulled out his pistol and promptly brought his weapon across the man's face, electing a pained grunt. "Tell me where the president is and how many agents he has with him, otherwise I'll ensure things get painful for you from here on out."

Zhukov speaks over the radio. "Harkhov there isn't much that we can do. The president's safety is our number one priority. Take the president and go."

Harkhov's mouth shifts. "And what of you and Pudovkin?"

"I'll draw their attention and bide you and the president time to escape, Pudovkin will do his duty as well. We're both expendable at this point. You protect the president with your life."

Harkhov felt his stomach churn at this difficult choice but the president's safety was paramount. "Da, I will... good luck." The agent proceeded to lead the Russian president away the very moment Zhukov's AK fired off a short volly, two men from Inner circle going down. They could hear the sounds of men shouting and their commander giving orders, but just when they got a distance away, a sudden, bright pillar of light shone behind them.

The Russian president blinked as Harkhov's jaw went slack. Neither man could comprehend what they were seeing but eventually the light then disappeared. Their surroundings got eerily quiet afterwards.

"I'm not sure what that was... but it was... beyond me..." the president says shakily. The only thing Harkhov could do was agree with him. He motions to the president and the two men continue to flee on foot.


Tracking...Unknown...

Location... Romangana... some fifty miles from 501st Joint fighter wing base...

As the light died down the man in the beret opened his eyes finding that he, his men, their prisoners and his convoy somewhere that wasn't the Russian forests. Instead he found himself and his men in a country side of some sort. Stunned he saw a jeep with four soldiers. All four seemed to be dressed in old WW2 Uniforms belonging to America. The four men were clearly aware of the convoy, one of the archaic soldiers, the youngest of the group, turned to his squad mates and then approached them.

"Uh... hello... uh... where did you guys come from exactly?" he definitely sounded American... that much was clear.

The beret man's subordinates are frozen in place at all this, unsure of what to do now that they are out of their element. But there was one thing going through the man's mind as he was looking upon this man before him...

The American man notices the wounded agent and speaks. "Hey, your buddy's hurt bad. If you need some help we'd be mor-" The American soldier in the old uniform and possessing an old weapon is promptly shot by the beret man with his FN Five Seven. The man's three friends try to react but are cut down easily by Russian small arms fire.

The prisoner curses angrily. "You murderous butcher!" The man discharges another round, this time into the agents leg, electing a pained cry. The man's subordinate drags the second agent that they captured just upon arriving to this place and shoved him to the ground.

"Заткнись ОИП" The man barks. He then turns to his subordinate. "I don't know what is going on here. Go to their jeep and find a map that can help us. And get our two prisoners loaded for transport."

"Da, right away!" came a response. The younger man ran off to carry out his orders.

The Russian man, Moriz Glazkov, gave his orders to his men. He gazed at the man he just killed with his pistol first with a look on contempt, then with a smirk, giving the body a firm kick. Another miserable American lay dead at his feet and that of his colleges.


Tracking... Unknown...

Affiliation... 78th Tame Witches...

Location... Entrance to the base of the 501st Joint Fighter Wing...

Status: Two days prior to Darya's assignment to Duty Desk; 1 hour and 45 minutes after rune transportation from New York...

She had just gone through the front gate, the driver of her Kübelwagen slowly guiding the vehicle unto the base. As her hardened eyes gazed about the grounds stoically she couldn't help but be impressed with the 501st Fighter Wings assigned location, ideal for defense of Romanga. After hearing how her unit was activated and transferred over to the 501st's base she had to ensure all her belongings, what few there were, had been sent ahead of her. Though the Karlslander was much more happy just to finally be out of hospital...

She slightly adjusted her uniform, ensuring it was sitting properly on her body. It was a unique uniform that was only given to those of the fatherland who proved themselves of prestige though reputation of either rank, renown or deeds. She would have rather it have been for her deeds, instead of her family name, but there was little she could do about that. And much to her discomfort she received this uniform upon her enlistment. She could remember how people looked at her when she wore this uniform at that terribly young age. Nine years old: far younger than any known witch to date to enlist in the Karlsland military. And it was an uphill battle for her every step of the way. As she adjusted her peak cap a lot of bad memories started to worm their way to the surface, but quickly she banished them...

Upon the vehicle reaching the main grounds of the base she spots three of her old friends talking in front of her, three of her fellow witches of the 78th, whom she felt a great respect towards them. She dismounted the vehicle and silently approached the trio.

The Liberion Marine was the first to take notice of her, speaking with surprise. "Well I'll be damned! Noji. Erzsi. Look what the cat dragged in!" She extends her hand, offering a welcoming handshake.

The red haired Ostmark Medic wheeled around, but upon looking at her old comrade she smiles. "Ah! You've come back! Are you feeling better after your stay in hospital? Did they treat you well?"

The Karlsland girl nods, tactfully giving Olivia a handshake as she responds to Sergeant Erzsi Kalmar, the medic of the 78th . "Yes, I'm sorry I was gone for so long. I took some time to heal then was expected." she confessed. Nobuko Jin, also known as "Noji" by her friends and a very uniquely skilled soldier of Fuso, looked with silence, but an ever subtle smile of relief on her face. Clearly she had missed the Karlsland girl with the Raven hair.

Olivia waves it off with a smile. "Hey don't worry; if anything we're just glad your alright. We made sure that you had a room picked out for yourself and everything."

The raven haired girl turned a little guilty. "You didn't have to... really. I could have taken care of it and not needed to trouble any of you at all."

Noji shook her head. "You are our friend. Our squad mate. It's expected to help one of our own."

"Are the other girls around? I was hoping to great them..." her mouth hooked in worry. "I know they must have been concerned for me while I was in that condition."

Erzsi responds. "Well, Hélène is in the kitchen preparing a meal. The others went off to Sortie, they should be back any moment now." The red haired witch looks skywards to the north east, a smile filling her features. "And look at the perfect timing! Here they come now." Erzsi's face turns to the Karlslander witch. "The other girls really did miss you, ya know."

The Karlslander smiled a ghost of a smile... her eyes still carried that look of dull hardened emptiness, her damaged heart slowly trying to urge itself to feel more then pain that it held deep inside, even though she truly was glad to gaze upon her friends once more. What with what happened to her... she feared it would have been the last this time...

The commanding officer of the 78th Tame Witches Combined Reserve Squadron, Clotilda Marwick and the other witches of both the 78th and 501st approached. Everyone seemed to be well worked, it was clear the sortie was a difficult one.

Clotilda's eyes caught the Karlslander and a warm smile filled her features. Before the other witches could fly into the hanger the commander of the 78th approached her 2IC. She took a moment to gaze upon her subordinate officer, the other girls of the 78th had also took notice and upon spotting their returning witch they gathered around happily, speaking words of warm greeting. The 501st witches seemed to take notice for a moment but went ahead into the hanger to dismount their strikers, though it was noticed that they were curious of the new arrival.

Clotilda smiles mildly. "It's so good to see you alive and well again. You've come to report in, haven't you?" she asked warmly.

"Yes mamm." The raven haired witch snapped to attention and saluted her commanding officer. "Leutnant Ludwiga Krupke reporting in to resume her duties." she reports. "Has there been any new developments as of late that I require a briefing on, mamm?"

Clotilda's smile leaves her face and her face becomes much more passive. "A lot actually... there have been several developments that had happened while you were recovering that I will catch you up to speed on..." a look on concern then filled her. "You're sure that your alright?"

"Yes much better now at least."

Clotilda had a look of hesitation, but she ventures a question. "Did they ever find out... who the culprit was who attacked you?"

Ludwiga slowly shook her head solemnly. "All that they could figure it was someone who was anti-witch... but beyond that they haven't much to go on." Despite saying that Ludwiga had a strange inkling feeling who could have been responsible. But for now, there were only two things she cared about at this moment:

The first was that she was now back with her beloved, fellow witches. Her comrades of the 78th.

The second was these new developments Coltilda spoke of. She wasn't sure what these events were but they sound of the utmost importance...

Clotilda sighs. "I see. Well... for now we should see to it you receive a meal. After that, we'll bring you up to speed as to what has been going on as of late. Understood?"

Ludwiga nods. "Understood." As she watched Clotilda return with the other witches to the hanger she couldn't help but feel a little bit of relief. It's good to be back... she muses quietly.


And with that Chapter 27 is complete... and it's now 6:00 in the AM. New developments in this chapter going down and it seems like a big reveal at the end.

As a bit of a authors note is that I have given blaze permission to use all Ten girls of the 78th Tame Witches Combined Reserve Squadron's main cast in his story, so if someone is wondering why they are and will be making future making appearances in the Clocktower is because of that and I am interested how things will develop for them in his story, seeing as it a story with a different tone to it.

Anyways, thanks again for reading, please let me know if there's any questions that you may have and I'll do my best to answer, fellow writers and readers. Happy New Years, have a good day and as always: stay frosty.