Gears of War 4: Rico Squad

Chapter 16: Recovery

Riddick Writer: Sorry for the super long update you guys! I've been busy! Really busy! Anyways, enjoy the chapter!

"Get that IV in his arm now," one of the outpost's doctors ordered as Mielke was placed on the mattress gently. The Echo Squad Corporal's eyes were closed once again, his breathing shallow. If Emily didn't know better from her viewing point at the foot of the bed, she would think he was sleeping…

Instead, her green eyes flicked with worry over his bare chest. The bandages were wrapped poorly around the wounds and already stained with dark crimson fluid. Despite her best efforts, one bullet still remained in him. The other two she had successfully removed. Even so, he was bleeding fiercely again.

"Damn it," one of the doctor's muttered, "I said get that IV in!" Emily's youthful face watched in content and worry as one of the other doctors fumbled for the equipment. For a simple tent, they really had just about everything in medical technology crammed in here… Along with five more beds covered in severely wounded gears.

Emily was so caught up in the scene. The smell of blood, the moaning of wounded, doctors shouting commands, it was nothing close to what her training had prepared her for. Sighing she closed her eyes for a moment and stared downwards, her mind scrambling over the days events. Her first mission, about twenty four straight hours of non-stop action… Did most gears first missions go like that?

Suddenly she felt a firm hand grasp her shoulder ripping her out of her thoughts.

Standing next to her, his gaze fixed on Mielke, was Fixer. His blonde hair messier than ever and his face showing an indescribable exhaustion. Emily stared in interest and finally he turned to her locking his eyes with hers. They continued the connection as Emily parted her lips and moved a soft hand to the right side of his head. Gently she ran her fingers along the bloody scrap that ran across the side of head. Fixer winced a little and began raising his hand to hers.

He smirked and gently grabbed her wrist moving it away slowly. "What happened," she whispered her tone obvious with concern.

"Just had a little run in with fate," he replied calmly. "Stuff like that tends to happen when you join the military." Emily just gawped at him and shook her head smiling weakly. The two Privates didn't even notice one of the tent's many doctors sneak up on them.

He coughed loudly obliterating the moment.

"Um, excuse me, can you two get out of here? We're extremely busy and you two are kind of well… in the way." Both Privates turned to him shocked out of their conversation and nodded frantically. In a matter of seconds both were outside of the large medical tent starting at each other once again. Both now had a clueless air to them as they gazed around the outpost bewildered at all the refugees and gears moving about.

There was a moment of silence before Fixer scratched the back of his head and caught sight of the armory. "I suppose we should go get all this crap off," Fixer said indicating the armor. Emily giggled and nodded in agreement. Fixer then wasted no time striding off, Emily literally had to jog the first few feet to catch up and fall in step with him.

She gave him a questioning look opening her mouth to speak, but then turned away quickly. It was much too late however; Fixer had caught the look and was smirking once more. "Something you wanted to ask me?"

Emily blushed fiercely as she looked down at her feet. Inside her head she was panicking. This is war! You can't join the Cog and just start hooking up with guys! You're here to help fight!

"Uh, nothing… do… do you think the mission was a success?" The question was far from her original one, but much more professional. Just like their relationship had to be. They were gears… squad mates… nothing more, nothing less.

Fixer made a look of deep thought. "Well you heard me on the ride over," he started disdainfully. "We lost way too many people today… Dalia, that medic at the pick up zone, and how many whole squads? I don't know Emily, I just feel like we lost more than we gained," he muttered just as they neared the entrance of the massive armory tent. In size it was one of the biggest tents in the outpost, but it was still only half the size of the mess hall by the debriefing tent…

Emily frowned deeply at his response and shifted her shoulders uncomfortably. Her armor was really beginning to wear her down, so was the lancer in her hands now that she thought about it. It had never occurred to her how heavy the stuff would actually be when she first joined.

The outpost's requisition officer was busily examining a taken apart gnasher shotgun on a long wooden table. He looked up at the two as they walked in with raised brows on his scarred face and smiled. "Ah, finally done with your mission and get to take the ol' armor off, eh?"

Fixer and Emily nodded eagerly as the stared in awe at all the weapons mounted behind him on metal racks. Countless lancers, gnashers, long shots, snub pistols, and even grenades of various sorts lined the wall. The officer caught them staring and turned to follow their gaze putting his hands on his hips.

He turned back to them smiling broadly, "Yep, and all the armor is over there," he indicated the larger side of the tent. Sure enough, shiny cog chest pieces, shoulder pads, and helmets lined that wall just like he had said.

"Christ this place almost makes the HQ back in New Jacinto look like a joke," Fixer commented as he began stripping his weapons and setting them on the table. The officer smiled at that and took a step across from the blonde haired gear reaching for the old retro lancer. Immediately Fixer placed a hand across it, "You can take the ammo in the chamber, but this gun is mine."

The officer furrowed his brow with a puzzled look. "If you say so," he finally grunted then watched Fixer unload the gun. Emily watched from behind in interest. She remembered their last day at HQ before the mission; he had said the old retro lancer had belonged to his dad during the Pendulum wars. That gun must mean a lot to him…

Carrying a pile of metal in his arms the officer moved to the racks to place them in their respective spots. Meanwhile Emily stepped forward next to Fixer who was now un-strapping his shoulder pads. She set her lancer down on the table softly and watched as Fixer did the same with his first shoulder pad followed by the other. "Feels so good to finally get rid of all this stuff," he said absent mindedly making Emily nod in agreement.

After a few minutes, the two Privates stood looking at each other unarmored for the first time in awhile. Emily was wearing a white t-shirt and sweats while Fixer wore a plain gray tank top and similar black sweats. "You two look a lot smaller now don't cha," the officer said from across the tent as he set a chest piece on a rack.

"Yeah, a lot smaller," Emily agreed as she gazed down at herself. She had forgotten how she looked without the blue and black cog armor.

"Feels so good to be free," Fixer yawned loudly stretching his aching arms. "I think I'm gonna hit the showers and sleep the day away!" Emily giggled respectively at that and brushed her red hair out of her face.

"I think I'm just going to bed. After being shot at all day, sleep sounds good right about now… I'll worry about hygiene tomorrow." Fixer smiled at that. Sure they were dirty, sweaty, and gross, but hey, it was war. Appearance doesn't matter much when staring down another living thing trying to kill you…

They both said good bye to the officer and left the tent back in the morning sun. Both stretching constantly as their aching muscles screamed with relief from their armor. "Well, I guess I'll see you around then," Fixer said happily smiling at her. She returned the smile immediately making direct eye contact with him once again.

"Yep, I'm not going anywhere," she replied cheerfully. Then with a quick wave to each other they both turned and walked opposite directions across the outpost to the respective male and female barracks…

XVX

Mike Mayhem Simmons sat on top of a pile of crates behind the mess hall. He was shirtless, revealing his body of ink and wearing a simple pair of black jeans. His black bandanna was absent on his forehead and instead tied around his green hair to form a pony tail.

Suddenly he reached into his pocket and revealed the same carton of cigarettes he had back in Quinta. Then just like before, he lit one and quickly placed it in his mouth inhaling fiercely. When he yanked it out, he sighed out a massive puff of smoke.

Looking up he caught sight of a group of refugee children playing soccer on the grassy field that separated the mess hall tent from the refugee tents that littered the large outpost's area. He couldn't help but smile as he took drag from his cig. "At least we helped some people Dalia," he muttered to himself out loud staring up at the clouds.

He lazily blinked his eyes and took another drag letting the smoke go into the air before looking back down to find an old friend. The massive hairy Sergeant grinned at him from the bottom of the crates. He laughed heftily, "Now tell me my brother in arms, how the hell did you survive?"

Mike chuckled happily at the sight of the Sergeant. "Leonardo! I should have known you find me laying around eventually… Long story short I fell right when he shot, making it seem like he killed me. So basically, I got fucking lucky," he laughed. Leonardo shot him a crazy grin and scratched his beard with one of his massive paws.

"Good to know you're still around brother… This war wouldn't be as fun without cha," he replied still grinning ear to ear. Mike laughed properly again before taking another drag from his cig making Leonardo frown as he plopped himself down on a crate. It literally screeched under the big gear's weight but he didn't seem bothered by it.

"You know those things will put you in heaven right?"

Mike gazed up at the sky again half smiling. He slowly looked back down at Leonardo with the same expression. "I'm well aware of it, but this war is gonna kill us all eventually, right?" Leonardo grunted loudly closing his eyes and nodding solemnly as his head sunk to his feet. Sitting like that the massive gear almost looked peaceful, and not the blood craving beast he was on the battlefield…

"I believe your right," he sighed as he slowly looked up at the sky. "This once beautiful land now reeks with the stench of blood and death… We thought we were going to save it by defeating the Locust and Lambent, but now… we all see the truth." Mike furrowed his brows and let out another puff of smoke from his mouth.

"What's the truth?"

Leonardo chuckled at Mike like a teacher would to a naïve student. "That peace will never exist on Sera," he said simply making Mike take another quick drag of his half finished cig.

He let out the new cloud of smoke with a sigh, "True that man, true that."

A long silence passed between the two as they watched the soccer game and various refugees and gears pass by. Some waved, others ignored them. Even in war, friends were seldom. Gears usually only befriended their squad mates, other squads didn't typically get along too well. It was just natural now days…

"So Lieutenant Jacobs died in Quinta," Mike suddenly asked as he tossed his cigarette butt to the grass at the bottom of the stack of crates. Leonardo frowned and looked up at him nodding his hairy head.

"It seems so. Apparently the brothers and sisters in our squads were the only ones to make it out of hell yesterday…," he paused looking thoughtful. "I feel for Dalia. But you have to understand that she is in a much better place now," he finished wisely. Mike just made a stern face and nodded briskly shooting his eyes to the refugee children that appeared to be done playing soccer.

He had hardly known the female gear in his extremely short time serving with her on Echo Squad. But to see such a pretty face go so fast was just unbearable. It demonstrated that war wasn't a game… but a challenge that only the bravest of people could face. And in order to win, sacrifices had to be made…

"You do believe that, yes brother?" Mike looked down confirming the big man's rhetorical question with a nod.

"Yeah man, I hear ya," he said distantly just as he spotted a familiar face jogging towards them from around the corner of the mess hall tents. He recognized the baggy clothes and shaved head from a mile away… Leonardo quickly spotted the teen jogging towards them and chuckled loudly.

"It looks like your little friend has come back to visit his hero!" Mike frowned and watched the teen finally come to a stop near Leonardo staring up at him with big hazel eyes.

"Whoa… Where can I get tats like that," he exclaimed in a loud, oddly high pitched voice. Puberty? At this age? Mike smirked at the thought staring down at the kid fingering the cog tags around his neck. Leonardo chuckled and stood up hoisting his belt higher on his big gut.

"I will talk to you later brother," he announced to Mike, "But for now, sleep and food sound too damn good for me to pass up." Mike laughed and waved good bye as the big Sergeant lumbered off in the direction Zeke had come. The teen watched him briefly then turned back to Mike folding his arms.

"I'm waiting ya know," he told Mike impatiently making the Corporal frown. Suddenly he leapt off the top crate dropping about eight feet to the ground in front of Zeke. He then stood standing slightly taller than Zeke with a mischievous glint to his eyes and an irremovable smile.

"You gotta kill some shit first… but it's funny you ask, because the particular artist who did all of them happens to be right here in this outpost. Every time I've stopped here in the last war I got a new one from her," he explained making the teen nod in eagerness.

"Show me! I want one so fucking badly!"

Mike couldn't help but chuckle at the teen making Zeke's fragile face scrunch up into one of slight anger. "I'm serious! I want to get a tattoo!" Mike suddenly stopped laughing but a hint of amusement still lingered on the green haired man's face.

"Fine, follow me; I'll take ya right to her." Zeke's eyes lit up with pleasure and excitement as Mike stalked off towards the field of grass. Zeke literally bounded after him, for being eighteen, he sure was child like in many ways…

The two made quick time through the refugee tents where Mike got hundreds of bizarre stares most likely from the ink covering his body. The whole time they had been walking, Zeke kept pointing out certain ones and asking why. "What's with the snakes coiled around the skull?"

"It's supposed to be how I'm gonna look when I die," he lied back quickly. The majority of his tattoos were pointless, simply there because he liked them. The only one with any true meaning to him was the cog tags tattooed around his bicep with his recruitment date on them. Sometimes people mistake that one for being real tags…

Zeke opened his mouth to blurt out another question but Mike strode forward quickly and rounded a tent hoping to see her. To his luck he found her, talking to an elderly refugee couple that seemed confused. "Who are we looking for exactly anyways," Zeke muttered as Mike ignored him and moved towards the female gear.

Out of her peripherals she must of saw Mike and the untidy teen because she waved the couple good bye and moved towards them holding her lancer across her tan body. Her shiny black hair was cut short with long bangs like usual as her dark chocolate eyes flashed over Mike and Zeke. A curt smile formed on her lips immediately, "Well if it isn't Mike 'Mayhem' Simmons, and who's the follower," she said in a highly accented voice tinted with humor.

Mike grinned and shot a glance at Zeke who looked back at him furrowing his thin brows. "This is Zeke, one of Quinta's two survivors… he wants a tattoo Samantha."

Corporal Samantha Byrne raised her head in acknowledgment eyeing Zeke with interest. Zeke looked rather scared she thought, but she quickly brushed the thought away and turned to Mike smirking. "And why did you direct her to me?"

Mike chuckled, "Because you're the only person I know in the whole damn Cog that can do a tattoo well!" Samantha rolled her eyes and nodded absently taking much more pleasure to the compliment than she led on.

"Fine I'll do it, but right now I'm on outpost guard duty, obviously you're not handsome," she said referring to the bare chested Mike who smiled. She then turned to Zeke who appeared to have, a look of jealousy maybe? Weird…

"But in exactly two hours meet me back here and I can give you one, sound good Zeke?" The teen nodded happily grinning ear to ear. "Good, I'll see you then, Mike, good to see you, hope your squad gets over Dalia." Mike nodded solemnly just as a group of fully armored gears appeared behind Samantha. He wondered how she had got news on their mission so early…

"Hey Byrne let's get a move on," one gear shouted grumpily waving an arm frantically. Samantha turned to them then back to Mike smiling.

"That's my signal, I'll see you around." With a brief nod of acceptance Samantha shot off towards the gears leaving Mike and Zeke to stare. A good thirty seconds passed before Zeke opened his mouth to question Mike once more but the Corporal quickly put a hand up.

"Do you ever give it a rest?" Zeke half smiled and patted Mike on the shoulder with a surprisingly cold touch.

"Did it ever occur to you that I just do it to piss you off?" Mike's face disappeared of any type of pleasure and got very stern. Satisfied, a grin appeared on Zeke's face as Mike began to stalk off. Zeke watched him until he finally stopped turning back to Zeke with a smirk.

"Just don't get some stupid stereotypical tattoo kid," he called back. Zeke's face flushed with red as the green haired gear turned away and disappeared around a tent.

"What a hypocrite," was all the teen murmured folding his arms…

XVX

8:30 P.M that evening…

The outpost's lights illuminated the massive area of tents quite well considering Hanar outpost was in the middle of nowhere. It surprised Matt as he stepped out of the barracks with a group of other gears in casual clothing. He had expected a dim and poorly lit base that would be difficult to defend under attack… but then again, this was also a refugee camp, so their protection was greatly significant to the Cog High Command's reputation.

"Shit man wonder if we can go get something to eat yet at the food tent or something."

"Yeah, I'm hungry as hell."

Matt quickly lost interest in the boring conversation the group of gears were having and split off from them. He walked towards the armory for awhile then caught sight of fully armed gears jogging. Curiosity getting the better of the bald Lieutenant he followed them behind the armory to the entrance of the outpost where a line of armadillos sat. Each vehicle's lights screeched blindness at anything in front of them. Including a squinting Colonel Vinson, who held a forearm to his eyes as he stared at the gears climbing in.

Matt quickly caught sight of the Colonel and stormed up to him frowning. "Colonel, with all do respect, but what the hell is going on?" Matt's words suggested hostility but his voice remained calm and focused as always making Vinson turn to him with slowly with raised brows.

"Cog High Command has ordered a night attack on a Karn stronghold east of New Jacinto. The stronghold is supposedly prepping for a mass assault on the HQ, long story short; the Chairman doesn't want to die Lieutenant." Matt resisted the temptation to drop his jaw and instead followed Vinson's gaze back to the armadillos as the first few began to roll out roaring into the night.

The two superior ranking gears didn't even notice the familiar face approach from behind. "Lt. Dunbar! I was hoping to run into today yet before I departed."

Matt and Vinson spun around to find themselves staring at Corporal Jon Downey. His brown hair messy, his eyes bloodshot with exhaustion, and his armor strapped on lazily. The young Corporal literally looked like he had woken up and walked out here…

Matt looked up and down fairly quick and smiled, "You look a little- "Tired and like shit I know," Jon finished staring past him at a group of gears standing by an armadillo. "But as a driver in the Cog you don't get the liberty of choosing when and when you don't feel like driving," he said with a smirk letting his green eyes fall back on Matt.

Suddenly he reached out a hand and patted Matt's meaty shoulder. "It's been an honor to fight alongside you Matt... Hopefully we'll meet up again some time… Maybe under better circumstances?" Matt chuckled slightly at the Driver's humor but was silenced when the gears behind him yelled out at Jon calling him over.

"Same goes to you Jon, come back in one piece," Matt said briskly sensing the urgency from the gears yelling.

The driver laughed properly at that as he began to back pedal towards the squad waiting next to the armadillo he was assigned to. He waved one last time and opened his mouth as if to say more, but instead turned away jogging to the armadillo where the squad lieutenant shook his hand. Matt watched remembering his first meeting with the driver a mere two days ago.

"They never get breaks," Vinson grunted quietly making Matt suddenly remember the Colonel was there.

"Yeah, that's what concerns me most," he muttered back as Jon disappeared from sight in the armadillo. In a matter of seconds the box like vehicle was thundering past them along the gravel followed by others leaving Matt and Vinson to watch in dignified silence. "How much Intel do they have on the stronghold?"

Vinson frowned and shook his head gloomily, "Not enough."

Matt bit his lip when a loud speaker suddenly blared over the outpost. "Colonel Vinson and all high ranking gears report to debriefing immediately! Urgent message from Cog High Command!"

Matt and Vinson looked at each other gravely, then without wasting another second, both took off in full stride to said debriefing tent…

Riddick Writer: So other than the first chapter, this is one of our few non-action chapters… but the point was to try and build on characters! So if you think I succeeded or failed at that, please do review and give me some constructive criticism! Particularly if your OC was one of the characters I tried to build on! :P

See you guys next time!