The silence in the Pave Low was just how she liked it.
Newly promoted Colour Sergeant Trafford sighed and cracked her knuckles. She never used the love the quiet before a mission, especially when she was new to the special forces. It made her over think, her anxiety would create situations in her head that she didn't want. Now she finds herself shushing the other men on her team so she can keep a clear head and think straight. She'd changed a lot since Zakhaev's death two years prior, both in appearance and attitude. She'd grown a few inches and her muscles were much thicker than they used to be. Her scarred face was sharper, more defined. Her grey eyes bore a faint but constant haunted look, her strawberry blonde waves had lost their luster and was tied into a tight plait that sat between her shoulder blades. But after she was transferred to a new team she'd managed to retain the sarcastic, easy going personality that the SAS had almost stolen from her. She still got anxious before a mission, and she still carried a few nervous ticks. But she also carried a whole new confident outlook that didn't cause her to question her CO's constantly about her purpose and abilities.
An there was her promotions. But her upgrade to Sergeant was more of a 'sorry for leaving you high and dry in the Altay Mountains' more than anything else. She'd made Colour Sergeant shortly before she reunited with Soap and Price.
Her eyes scanned over the other men. She, along with two young Troopers from her own squad were currently on loan from the SAS regiment. General Shepherd apparently had her under consideration for the Task Force 141 (a piece of information she'd manage to diverge from Captain Price with some verbal trickery)
She still had no idea how the General had heard of her, but there was no denying that she would snatch that opportunity up without hesitation. There was nothing that would make her happier than to fight alongside Soap and Price again. There was Wallcroft and Griffen, who had scraped through the Altay Mountains with them, but she seldom saw them around Credenhill. And whenever she did they only exchanged uncomfortable pleasantries, and half of the time Griffen couldn't even look her in the eye. Taylor had no idea how the friendship became so strained and awkward.
She continued to subtly study the 141 men. The one that had caught her eye straight away was an SAS operative who asked her to call him 'Ghost', no first or last name. The skull-printed balaclava and dark red sunglasses that hid his face set Taylor's nerves on edge and she struggled to make eye contact with him when Soap introduced them. He didn't look like the type you'd want for an enemy, and she was going to fight tooth and nail to keep him on her good side. She glanced at the smaller man next to him.
Roach, she liked Roach. Price observed that the younger man reminded him of her in her first days of the SAS. He was only two years younger than her, but he was a bit clumsy, he stumbled over his words a little while around his superiors and kept his head down most of the time. But once she got him talking about his old unit in the Paras he turned out to be an intelligent, likable man.
Her gaze was eventually met with Soaps, who sat across from her. She threw the Scott a quick grin and a wink. He grinned in return. She'd missed him, she remembered waking up in that hospital in Russia. Convinced she was alone and wishing she didn't survive, wishing she had died with her friends on that bridge. Then Nikolai had shown up with the news that despite being half dead when the Loyalists turned up. Both Soap and Price had pulled through. She couldn't stop herself from jumping into their arms when they met again before takeoff. Even though she was a little jealous that Soap was very likely to make Captain in the next year or so.
The Pave Low began to slowly descend. Taylor did a few routine checks on her weapon out of habit and took a deep breath. She turned to the two young Troopers accompanying her. Shaunessy and Mathews looked visibly intimidated by the Task Force men around them. Taylor probably would be to if she didn't already know the two leaders. She gave the two men an encouraging smile and nodded towards the door as the chopper touched ground. She followed them out and used her weapon to scan the wilderness around her.
The Karkonosze Mountains were silent. This was the kind of silence that Taylor hated. The team had been put together to secure a safe house believed to be holding 'Kingfish' Zakhaev's apparent protege. It made her shiver to think what a man with unlimited resources and more twisted versions of Zakhaev's ideas could do when given the right amount of power.
Taylor kept her eyes on the two Troopers she was in charge of. The two walked in front, flinching at natures little noises. She stifled a chuckle, glad that she was able to grow out of the habit.
''Moving to standby positions'' Price said over the radio. Taylor exchanged a small smile with Soap.
''We count four tangos patrolling the east and west barracks'' The voice of Sandman buzzed in their ears. He and Frost were providing sniper support from a hill. Taylor had to admit, she didn't know what to feel in the presence of two Americans. But Price trusted them, and that was enough for her.
She flinched as four gunshots rang out, almost immediately followed by the gun and rocket fire from an AC-130. Taylor could stop herself from cringing as the missiles obliterated the barracks. Rocket fire will always be the one sound that could make her tremble in fear. The urgent cries of the Russians spurred them forward. Price and Soap took the lead, gunning down two enemies as they went.
''Specter 64, fire in the west barracks'' Price commanded. Taylor glanced up at the AC-130 as it made another pass. She hunched he shoulders as the buildings a few feet from them exploded, sending thousand of tiny shards of glass and shrapnel their way. As the dust settles, Price prepared to move, but was instantly stopped as bullets smashed he brick wall. Soap calmly switched to his grenade launcher, thy were clear in no time.
They pushed forward, with the help of the gunship they were able to make it to the main building without to much trouble. But the huge dust cloud hat formed from the heavy fire temporarily blinded them. Taylor coughed and tried not to breath to deeply. They cleared the smoke, and for good measure. Ghost threw a grenade in the next room. Warnings screamed in a foreign language came to late as two bodies were blasted back into our view. They hit the ground motionless. Taylor pushed forward and did a quick scan of the area.
''Clear right'' She announced. Before she could confirm a 'clear left' two Russians came into view. She wasted no time in killing them before they could level their weapons. She heard more gunfire behind her, then Ghost appeared at her side. Sharing a quick nod, they both proceeded to the hallway. Silence.
''Hallway clear'' She called to the others.
The team ten turned into a narrow hallway. Taylor inwardly groaned at the close quarters. Enemies appeared from numerous rooms, she brought up the rear while the others shot and killed their way down the corridor. Price came to a stop.
''141 has arrived'' The old Captain announced. Taylor could hear the smirk in his voice. She watched as Roach planted a small charge on the wall. The controlled explosion momentarily stunned her. But she gathered her wits in time to squeeze her eyes shut when she saw Soap throw a flashbang. She followed the two leaders into the dark, dingy, and empty room. Scrunching her nose at the thick musty smell mixed with the blood from the three corpses that lay in the middle of the room. She looked over at the two troopers. Disappointment clear on their faces. No Ultranationalists in sight.
''141 has arrived at target'' Price deadpanned ''There is no sign of Kingfish. I repeat, no sign of Kingfish''
''Copy that 141'' Baseplates relpy came ''Grab any intel you can. if he's not there. Find out where he's going''
Taylor sighed and examined the walls. She spotted some sort of wooden board with multiple satellite pictures, photos and newspaper articles splattered with blood thumb-tacked to it. Her brow furrowed and she stepped in closer to investigate. Allowing her eyes adjust to the gloom, her stomach sank to her shoes at what she saw.
In the center was a photo. A photo of her old SAS team including Price, Gaz, Wallcroft, Griffen, Arem, Mac, Lovejoy and MacDonald. All crossed out with red ink. She and Soap weren't present in that particular one. But they were in other snapshots. One of her was in Russia, probably before they retook the launch facility. She was talking with Griggs, but a red cross was scratched over his head, both of them obviously unaware of the camera. A headshot of Soap in the Caucasus Mountains, most likely taken by Gaz. The articles dotted around them were in Russian. Her stomach knotted when she noticed that her, Price and Soap were the only three that weren't crossed out.
''Price'' She stammered, not taking her eyes away from the display ''You need to come see this''
She heard two men stand either side of her. Price sighed.
''He's targeting Bravo 6'' Soap said in disbelief. They stood in silence for a few more minutes, Taylor tried to process what Soap had just said. 'who's after us?' she thought. A high pitched beeping noise shook them from their trance.
''Get down!'' Price screamed.
Taylor barely heard what Price was yelling. Her first priority was to haul Shaunessy and Mathews out of the room. She didn't have time to think about where the C4 was planted as a shock wave threw her forward. Luckily for her she escaped the worst of it. She barely managed to regain her footing before they all fled from the ambushed building. She made sure to keep the young Troopers running ahead of her.
They exploded onto the field. Sprinting as fast as their legs could carry them. The V22-Osprey was in view. Two men clad in Gillie suits joined them in their escape. She risked a glance back, scowling in frustration as the Russian pursued in their hundreds. Their escape was made a little more difficult as the AC-130 tried to thin out the Russian ranks. Taylor shoulder her weapon and fought to even out her breathing. A red spark in the sky caught her eye. Specter 6-4 was popping flares. She felt the need to cry out in warning as the RPG rocket flew towards the plane. The gunship didn't stand a chance at the missile clipped its wing. Causing the entire aircraft to explode. Taylor cursed vilely and continued running.
''Keep moving!'' Price yelled. The Russian were hot on their heels now. RPG fire and grenades hitting closer and closer. Shaunessy was knocked off his feet a few times and Mathews was stumbling and clutching his right arm. Lungs burned and legs ached. But no one dared slow down.
A heavy force knocked Taylor sideways, thinking an RPG had managed to hit her she yelled in pain and frustration as her right shoulder slammed into the ground. She squeezed her eyes shut as her head smacked against the rough grass. She tried to fight the disorientation and get into a upright position. A brief, but white hot pain shot through her right side. But adrenaline and the sheer will to escape was enough to make her ignore the pain.
''Trafford!'' She didn't recognize the voice, but she allowed herself to be pulled up by two hands. She fumbled blindly in the confusion until her hands closed around the cold metal of her weapon. She looked up and her eyes were met with Roach's. She found strength in her legs again and half staggered, half ran to the chopper. She looked back, and that's when she saw him.
Price. Kneeling and holding off the Russians on his own. At first, her mind didn't process what she was seeing. But then it clicked. He was staying behind.
''Price!'' She felt the name escape her lips before she could stop it. She tried to run towards him, Roach had a hard time holding onto her and Shaunessy had to help drag her up the ramp. ''Price!'' She screeched again. The old Captain turned and met her eyes, he then made a gesture with his arms and yelled something that sounded like:
''Get them out of here!''
She continued to scream and fight against the men's grip. She picked up on more incoherent yells behind her, clearly from Soap. Her body gradually became weaker and her vocal chords felt like they were about to rip but she refused to give up. She couldn't lose her Captain again. She refused to let him fall to the mercy of the Russians. During a brief lull as she caught her breath, she heard an American desperately trying to make the pilot wait. But the ramp was brought up, and Price was gone.
Taylor collapsed against the side of the chopper and let herself sink to the floor. Her throat felt raw and her vision swam, whether it was tears or exhaustion she couldn't tell. Price was gone, again. But maybe they won't kill him? Maybe they'll take him for questioning. Those theories did nothing to ease her worries, the only way a Russian can ask a question is with a hundred volts, or worse. She shook her head, her brain was in complete denial. Even if they did capture him, god knows what becomes of him then.
She heard someone calling her name, she tore her eyes away from the ramp and found herself looking at Ghost. His hands were pressed against her abdomen and he was practically yelling trying to keep her attention. She frowned in confusion and looked down, she snorted in disbelief at the blood that covered most of her grey jacket. She must of taken some shrapnel damage when she fell. 'You clumsy twat' she thought to herself. She groaned and coughed as the pain became apparent again. Ghost was still talking to her,
''Trafford? Trafford look at me!'' he called, his words fell on deaf ears. She looked past the skull-printed mask and her eyes met Soap's. She stared at his blood-soaked face, his cold blue gaze nearly wavered as he began to slip unconscious while the medics attended to him. His expression a mix of pain, anger and defeat, she probably carried the same expression herself. She had to avert her eyes after it became painful to even look at him.
Despite Ghost's attempts to keep her conscious, Taylor found herself slipping under. Grief, exhaustion and blood loss creating a toxic mix in her body.
Whoever the hell Kingish was, he knew they were alive, that they were the team behind Zakhaev's downfall. And now he had Price. She knew that something had been set in motion. Things can only take a turn for the worse...
Soap sat in the armory. Stiff, cold fingers loading the M4A1 in front of him. He waited for Shepherd's response to his mission briefing. The Scott had mixed feelings towards the man, while he was a textbook war mongering leader who lost 30,000 men and women 5 years ago. He had to admit he put a good team together. He continued to watch the old General as he lit up a cigar without even looking up. He clenched his fists, and tried to distract his thoughts from Price before any sort of emotion clawed it's way to the surface.
''That's it?'' The American said in his husky voice. Soap's temper peaked, without thinking he slammed both his fists against the flimsy table. Sending the scattered mags and bullet shells rattling across the wood.
''Who is Kingfish?'' He demanded through gritted teeth. His frustration speaking for him. A small smirk coloured the old Generals features as he pushed a small photo towards Soap. The Scott took in the scruffy hair, mismatched eyes and disheveled features. Makarov. The man who had already cost Soap enough. With the memories of Price still thick in his mind, he thrust the blade he didn't realize he grabbed into the photos left eye.
''We'll get him'' The General let out a low chuckle and turned to leave. He stopped at the door, speaking over his shoulder ''By the way, that girl the SAS lent us...'' He let the statement hang between them. Soap sighed.
''Trafford, sir'' He said quietly. The General grunted.
''I think she'll be useful in the 141'' The old American said ''From what you've told me anyway'' Soap averted his eyes, he felt a strange pang of guilt ''She's and old friend of yours, correct?''
''Yes sir'' Soap mumbled, his grip on the handle of the blade tightened until his knuckles turned white.
''You'll tell her then MacTavish'' The General nodded once and left. Soap closed his eye and pinched the bridge of his nose. Did he really want to drag Taylor into all this? He shook his head and began reasoning with himself. She was part of Bravo 6, this 'Makarov' was after her as well as him and Price. One or two current members may need a little convincing to accept her completely, and with a little more intense training she could be more than capable for the 141. He slowly released his grip on the blade. Losing Price had taken a huge toll on him, he imagined how much Taylor must be suffering right now as well.
He slowly stood. Taylor was in this for the long haul now whether she liked it or not. Soap ran a hand through his mow-hawk and rolled his shoulders. His eyes flitting between the photo of Makarov and the knife he used to stab it. Shepard's assurance didn't set his mind at ease one bit.
''We'll get him'' Soap mumbled to himself ''But at what cost?''
I gotta admit, this was a struggle. I had no idea how I was going to start this off. But my wonderful little brother suggested to kick-start with the Operation Kingfish mission. I haven't decided whether I see it as canon or not, but I did enjoy the video :)
Yeah, I have the audacity to give a short chapter and a crappy ending :/ sorry about that. But this was my only chance to actually get this chapter up and get the sequel off to some sort of start. I know it's a little rushed but i'm revising like mad for my theory driving test and I rarely have spare time now. But i'm chuffed that I actually have a sequel, even though I haven't got the faintest idea of how to continue with this at at the moment :P
You may have noticed that I switched to a third person narrative. This was because I want to get in the heads of other characters. I sincerely hope that by some miracle that I pulled it off :)
Modern Warfare 2 and all it's characters belong to Infinity Ward. Taylor, along with any OC's in this story belong to me.
Anyways, if you're reading these words then I must thank you for getting this far. But now I must ask you to R+R please (it had to be squeezed in somewhere)