Written for PicFic Tuesday Challenge 9-11-2012


Fighting Fire With Fire

The sky was already growing light in the East, signaling the fast approaching dawn. The increasing light didn't make the two watchers feel any easier though. Quite the opposite.

"What the devil is taking them so long? How long have they been in there now, Mark?"

"Nearly six hours, Napoleon. How much longer do we give them before we go in after them?"

Napoleon hesitated slightly, then reached over and laid a hand on Mark's shoulder, feeling the younger man tense at his touch.

"We don't go in after them, Mark. If they don't come back out on their own, our orders are to wait three days and then make a second attempt to close this satrip down."

"Bloody hell. I don't like this one bit."

"Neither do I, but - wait. I think I see movement to the left."

Grabbing his field glasses, Mark adjusted them quickly.

"You're right, mate. Foliage is definitely being moved opposite the wind. Now we just have to see if it's our wayward partners or some animal out for a morning romp."

Both men tensed until Mark finally got a decent look at what was making its way toward them.

"I'd recognize that hair anywhere – that's April. No sign of anyone with her and she looks a bit worse for wear."

Napoleon moved to give April a hand while Mark kept looking to see if he could spot Illya. April had one of her arms wrapped around herself, supporting her ribs – from the sound of her hitched breathing, he figured she had, at the very least, badly bruised ribs. Bruises were also starting to show on her face. Much as he wanted to check over her injuries, the mission had to come first.

"What did you find in there?"

"The underground lab is chemical research. All those formulas are not my area of expertise, but Illya says they've managed to rediscover Greek fire. A bunch of them came across us while Illya was studying the notes. We had a bit of a scuffle, then Illya told me to head back to the two of you and that he'd follow as soon as he finished with the notes."

Mark had been able to hear from his vantage point and responded while still watching their surroundings.

"Greek fire was supposed to be rather nasty as I recall my history. The formula for making it was supposed to have been lost ages ago. Stuff would even keep burning on water."

Napoleon glanced over toward where the underground labs were located, then looked upward to the now fully lightened sky.

"I hope Illya didn't run into another –"

An earth-shaking explosion cut off Napoleon's voice and, despite his continued concern for his fair-haired partner, he smiled at the sight of a fireball starting to climb into the sky. Illya's work. Had to be.

Just as that fireball began to darken, a second blast ripped out through the surface. Mark had been distracted enough by the pair of explosions that he nearly jumped out of his skin when he heard Illya's voice.

"Beautiful. The sight whets my appetite for breakfast."

"You nearly gave me a bleeding heart attack, you ruddy – "

A third explosion drew all of their attention back to where the labs used to be. Now that he knew Illya wasn't in the middle of the blasts, Napoleon could enjoy the sight more.

"The fire will probably continue burning underground for a day or two. I doubt there will be anything left salvageable after that point."

"Impressive. I didn't think you had that much in the way of explosives on you, chum."

"I did not need much. I divided what little I had between the three storage tanks of Greek fire. Now that it has been exposed to air, it will do the rest for us. Rather like that old saying of fighting fire with fire."

Mark watched as the third fireball rose. The new fireball was literally white hot in spots and hard to look at directly.

"Did you find anything about their plans for that stuff?"

A deeper rumble shook the area as Illya nodded.

"They were going to use a remote control equivalent of water balloon. Can you imagine the havoc a toy airplane loaded with that substance would cause if it was crashed into the side of something?"

"Be nearly impossible to guard against as well. A remote control plane would be too small to pick up on most defense systems and fences certainly wouldn't stop them either."

"One plan that I saw detailed using over two dozen of the craft to attack different areas of a base simultaneously. The best fire crew on a base would never be able to fight so many fires erupting at the same time in different areas."

"Nasty. Speaking of which, let me get a look at that head wound, chum. Looks like you're going to need a few stitches."

Another rumble drew their attention. Napoleon noted that the heat from the fire below ground had gotten hot enough to cause the ground above it to start collapsing inward.

"High time for us to make our report back to Headquarters. You and April need a little time in Medical and Mister Waverly is going to want to hear all the details."

Adrenaline dying down as pain and exhaustion set in, Illya and April both needed some assistance from their respective partners as they made their way back to where their car was hidden. Napoleon pulled out his communicator just long enough to let Mister Waverly know that the mission was successful.

One more THRUSH lab down and the world as a whole was just a little bit safer for it. In their profession, that counted as a solid win.