Chapter 4: The Assembly Tower

The ship set itself down under the scorched white Hero factory. The doors opened and the five of us walked through the shattered front doors. We were greeted by a large white hero with a strong chin. He crossed his arms and frowned as we walked in. I saluted

"Commander"

"That was quite a bit of trouble you managed to stir up down at junction 26" he grunted

"Sir, we shut down a major smuggling operation"

"Whilst making losses that could have been avoided" He unfolded his arms and pointed to the lift in the far corner of the lobby "Get debriefed"

I unclipped the guns on my back and removed the ammo feeders. It was good to get that weight off my shoulders. Literally and metaphorically. Raven stretched and rested her weapons on top of the stolen box of anti-quaza. Dakota did a handstand and checked that her circuits weren't fried within her main systems. Since she kept her balance I guessed they were fine. Stalin sat down and clicked his neck.

"How many Villains did we actually arrest?" I asked

"Four" Shepard answered

"Right and how many did we neutralise"

"319" Dakota straightened up. I smiled, still as deadly as ever. Zib burst into the room his tablet computer illuminated his worried expression.

"You six have really made progress" Raven coughed purposefully "The five of you did well" he corrected "We were trying to track down Nebula's Anti-quaza supply for several months now. Hopefully it'll be a while before he can get some more shipped in" he lifted his head "Bolter have you spoken to the doctor"

"I don't need a doctor" I growled

"Your psych profile suggests otherwise" once again Raven coughed and Zib dropped the subject.

After spending a few hours with Stalin in the training room I retired to the Bravo squad quarters.I flopped down into an unoccupied bunk and opened my helmet. Raven wearily walked over, her helmet was open too and her thin features were visible. She smiled

"Looks like you've been through the wars" she laughed

"Not funny" I chimed and rolled over

"You're still upset huh?" she sat at the end of the bunk. I sat up and looked at her

"I'm not sodding upset now stop trying to psycho-analyse me and check that Stalin's still walking straight" as if on cue Stalin stumbled down the corridor making a slight right turn every few seconds

"You really punched him hard" she mumbled

"He shot a grenade in my face" I justified. Raven stayed looking at me. I raised my eyebrows "Yes?" she sighed and walked off. I didn't need a doctor, or anyone pretending to be one. I preferred to handle things on my own… now anyway.

The hours passed within the factory and we weren't called in for another mission. I assumed Zib wanted to keep me out of the action for a while. I sat atop the assembly tower and looked across the shattered skyline. sighing I folded my arms. The explosions were still audible from as far as the factory. Things were not getting any better.

"Hey" I turned my head to see Shepard sauntering over, she sat beside me

"Hey" I replied. Her helmet opened and her smiling face was bared against the night air.

"The commander was looking for you"

"Let him look" I grunted. Shepard shook her head

"He's trying to help" she turned to me "We all are"

"I don't want any help. I want people to stop talking about it". Shepard raised her hands in submission

"Have it your way". We sat in silence for a few minutes and watched the stars "Do you ever wish you could see all this before the war?"

"All the time" I lay back and looked up at the night sky "What I'd give to get off world and do what they used to in the old days"

"Once the war's over…"

"It won't end. Not before my core wears out" I turned to her and smiled weakly

"You'd last longer if you didn't make so many split decisions". I laughed

"It's a tough job".