"The cliff is metaphorical. Does it actually exist? Yes and no. You take one step, and suddenly you're falling through the air. The change swirls around you. Like a whirlpool. And it is in this maelstrom that we discover who we are and what we are capable of. Pick up your weapons, good sirs."
-spoken by an anonymous man in the city of Euthis, during the Continental War.
Thirteen minutes later, Euthis ceased to exist.
Konohagakure no Sato – outskirts.
Black ops was annoying, dirty business. You had to be unnecessarily sneaky, always watching your back and making sure nothing compromised your position and your objective. It was tedious and most of all, boring.
Staff Sergeant Damion Frax huffed. The sheer backwardsness – is that a word? Whatever. - of this continent was scary. Limited technology, magic – goddamn sparkles and fireballs! - and the fact that they all had absolutely no clue Astarka even existed. Even the tech they did have, like televisions and fridges and the myriad other appliances, ran on that weird energy they had. Oh sure, the nerds had done the research, they had done the kidnappings. They knew what made these weirdos tick and what allowed them to spew elements from their mouths. Just because he knew and had been briefed didn't mean he had to fucking like it.
Frax was of the humble opinion that if they wanted to blow themselves up arguing over magic, then the ADF should just stay out of it and let them. Wasn't too hard, was it? But no, it was a compromise of security to potentially let this particular asshole wander around anymore, so they had sent in the stealthies to put a bullet in his brain.
Freaks didn't even know their continent existed. What risk was there? Not like any of 'em could cross an ocean or anything.
Idly, he checked the output of the dispersion cloak and made sure his mag was fresh. Not that they even needed an assault rifle for this job, anyway. Their detection abilities revolved solely on tracing their own particular energy outputs. They didn't even have basic radar. In all honesty, though, it was somewhat funny. If you switched to thermal, they would light up like the Andromeda Building on New Year's.
It had taken them a while, but eventually the four-man team had come to the horrendously obvious hideout that their targets were currently camping in. A giant tree made of origami paper. How deliciously ironic.
"Ugh, really?" Elliot groaned over comms. "The dumbasses didn't even make it the same size as the surrounding trees!"
Frax was glad he wasn't the only one annoyed by all of this. That was another thing – wasn't this a blatant waste of resources? Why didn't they just use an Annihilator drone and shove a missile in there? Oh, right. Because they still couldn't reveal their presence, and a spontaneous explosion would probably make the locals wonder.
Knowing them, though, they'd probably blame it on aliens.
Frax looked on as Samuel cut an opening with his plasma knife, keeping his rifle at the ready. Slowly, one by one, they slipped into the man-made cavern wordlessly and with a fluid grace. Frax quickly tapped into his thermals to see past the darkness, careful to avoid looking directly at the two bright-ass beacons that signified their targets. Sure, their target was the man, but his accomplice had to be taken out because this was a deniable op and they were never fucking here.
"12:00, forty meters. Close to ten, but no closer. Elliot, James, you two have the bitch. Sam, you and I are on the dude in the highly decorated wheelchair."
"Any secondaries, sir?"
Frax grimaced. "Burn the bodies. The locals will recognize when they die due to the circumstances, and they'll have questions about bullet holes."
Slowly, they closed, their targets still unaware of their impending doom. In seven seconds they have reached their designated range of ten meters. They could engage at any range, of course, but they wanted the shit-your-pants factor. It was one of the perks of the job.
Safeties were clicked off. Translators were turned on. Laser sights came to life, two resting on each target's forehead.
The woman's eyes widened. "What in the...?"
Frax smirked, then, as practiced, they all disengaged the personal dispersion fields. Four cloaked, armored warriors appeared in front of the two.
"You so much as move a pinky finger, you die," Frax spoke emotionlessly, his translated voice echoing around the cavernous interior.
It was a silly threat, really. They were going to die regardless.
The man's eyes narrowed. He opened his mouth to speak, but was wracked by a series of coughing fits. The woman looked over at him, her face revealing her concern, but she didn't say anything. Elliot and James raised their rifles instantaneously.
"He told you to not move."
The man's coughing had died down now, and he looked at them with obvious arrogance.
"I do not know who you are, but I highly doubt some fancy metallic sticks could seriously injure us, let alone kill. If you wish to see true power, wait unti-"
A single shot rang out in that dark space, and the redhead slumped back in his seat, blood oozing from a hole in his forehead. His companion looked on in absolute shock.
"Know this," Frax spoke, "You have been deemed a threat by our government. Your lives were forfeit in that instant. You do not know who we are, and we will not grace you with that information. Goodbye."
Another shot graced the silence with its deadly call, and the woman hit the ground with a dull thud. Sam and James pulled out their special incendiary grenades, tapped the tops twice, and calmly lobbed them towards the bodies. They would catch the bodies and have a timed burn time to simulate one of this continent's more high-powered fireball techniques. By the time the retrieval teams came to find out what had happened, the bullet holes should have cauterized over and resembled mere scorch marks. The bullets themselves were specially designed to dissolve into organic matter. They were standard issue for missions in this weird place.
Dispersion cloaks reengaging, Harrier Squad left without another sound. It would be a long trek back to the exfiltration point.
A/N: Forgive the length; this is meant to be a prologue chapter, just to get myself back into the swing of things. It's been a while. Also, I'll be posting the link to the armor designs for Harrier Squad in my profile. It will be the standard-issue gear, so any future black ops/special ops outfits noted in the story will be wearing it, unless specifically stated otherwise.
I've changed the title to this, as well. "The Second Continent" just seemed too bland for my tastes.
Yes, Purge is still alive, if anyone out there is wondering. I actually have a chapter done, but I want to write up the rest of the Chuunin Exam chapters before I start posting, just so you guys don't have to wait an excessively long amount of time in between each chapter. That's where the story actually starts rolling, so it should be fun.