Midnight's Shadow wasn't entirely sure how long she could run, but she just kept going. She was determined to leave it all behind: the soldiers, the explosions, the gunfire, the screams, the death. She had no idea where she was running to, but she didn't care. She just kept running. The sound of her footfalls and her controlled breathing filled her ears. In the distance, she could still hear the shouts, explosions, and gunfire from the battle she was so determined to leave behind.
She risked a look over her shoulder and was shocked to see that the soldiers that had been chasing her only moments ago had suddenly disappeared. Had they given up? No. That didn't seem right. Perhaps they ran into soldiers from the other side that they had been fighting with. Midnight's Shadow quieted her thoughts. It didn't matter now. All that mattered was that no one was pursuing her. She was in the clear. She just needed to put a little more distance between her and the battle behind her.
Suddenly, a dark shape stepped out of the forest directly in front of her. Midnight's Shadow jolted in surprise at its unexpected appearance. She skidded to a halt about twenty feet away from it as she strained her eyes to make out the person's features.
It was a man, rather short in stature. He was clad all in a light fitting black armor; the same armor that the soldiers attacking from the darkness of the woods had been wearing. His skin was a dark tan and his hair a dark shade of brown. A strange device, almost like some sort of optic camera system, arced around from the back of his head and sat in front of his brown eyes. He held a small assault rifle in his hands.
Midnight's Shadow eyed the gun warily before returning her gaze to the young man. Her eyes briefly scanned the forest, looking for an escape route. Maybe she could make it behind the trees before he brought up his weapon.
To her surprise, the man raised one hand off of the rifle as if he meant to calm her. "It's alright," he told her in an accent that she somehow identified as Moroccan. "I'm not going to hurt you."
Midnight's Shadow nodded towards him. "Then lower your gun."
The man shifted on his feet, as if he was the nervous one. "I can't do that. We're in the middle of a firefight and I need to be ready in case any more soldiers come running through," he informed her.
The dark haired woman took a step back, her expression hard and untrusting. "If you don't lower your gun, then I have no reason to believe you don't mean me harm."
The Moroccan man raised his hand in a calming gesture again and took a few cautious steps toward her. "What's your name?"
"None of your business," she threw at him icily, not liking how close he was getting. She felt like a cornered animal; enemies all around and nowhere to go. She glared at him as he slowly approached, but refused to give up any ground. Whether it was out of panic, anger, curiosity, or the simple fact that she was being stubborn, Midnight's Shadow didn't know.
He placed his hand on his chest to gesture to himself as he continued to inch closer. "I'm known as Breaker. My employers sent us to rescue you."
Midnight's Shadow shifted from foot to foot more rapidly now as he was within five feet of her. She was seriously considering taking her chances and forcing her way past him as she continued her sprint into the forest. But, she continued to hold her ground. "Who are your employers?" she asked carefully.
Breaker hesitated for a moment, indecision flashing across his features before it disappeared. "I'm not at liberty to discuss it."
The dark haired woman shook her head in disbelief, an actual smile spreading across her face. She had almost started laughing. "That's a fancy way of saying mind your own business. You're shadier than the guys who were holding me prisoner. So why should I trust you? And what makes me so damn important?" she demanded.
Breaker's brown eyes shifted over her shoulder towards where the majority of the fighting was happening. A second later, they returned to her face. "We'll fill you in once we get you into protective custody."
"I'm not buying it. The second you have me in custody, you don't have to tell me anything. Why should I trust you?" her voice rising in irritation as Breaker continued to dismiss her questions.
The Moroccan man was within arm's reach. He slowly extended his hand towards her shoulder. Midnight's Shadow flinched away. Suddenly, her instinct kicked in. It was as if she saw him reaching towards her in slow motion. Her mind interpreted it as an aggressive move and instantly kicked into defensive mode. Her hand swatted his arm away from her and then, lightning quick, and wrapped around Breaker's throat. The Moroccan man gasped in surprise, but didn't have the time to react. With all her strength, Midnight's Shadow pushed him backwards so fast that he lost his footing and slammed to the ground. The impact of the fall drove the air from his lungs in a rush.
Midnight's Shadow took a step back in shock. What had she just done? She didn't mean to attack him. It just happened. She instantly clasped her hands over her mouth and took a few steps back. Breaker took a few deep breaths followed by a few coughs. He seemed stunned by the sudden attack and was having trouble recovering. Midnight's Shadow just stood there, repeatedly asking herself "What did you do?"
Suddenly, the sound of footsteps reached her ears. The dark haired woman whirled around and barely managed to duck in time before a fist swung just inches away from her head. So the soldiers had caught up with her. Well, she definitely wasn't going to go quietly. Bringing up her leg, Midnight's Shadow kicked the man away from her and turned to face the others. She took a quick mental tally of how many there were. She counted four. Alright. She could handle four…hopefully.
Spacing her feet and reading her hands, Midnight's Shadow got into a fighting stance as she waited for the next attack. She didn't have to wait long. One of the other soldiers rushed her, attempting to tackle her to the ground before she had time to react. She dodge rolled out of the way, narrowly missing the attempted attack. She was immediately greeted by yet another soldier as he tried to bring up his rifle and smash it into her face in an attempt to knock her unconscious. Swinging up her leg in a sweeping fashion, Midnight's Shadow effectively kicked the gun out of his hands. And with another swift round house kick, slammed the back of her heel into the man's jaw. He uttered a single grunt of pain before he fell to the ground unconscious. She whirled around to turn her attention back to the remaining three soldiers just in time to see two of them try to grab her arms. Somehow, Midnight's Shadow back flipped out of their reach, both of her feet connecting with the underside of their jaws with a satisfying smack. She quickly righted herself, momentarily stunned by the fact that she had just successfully executed a back flip. Luckily, she recovered quickly. The soldiers were briefly dazed by the kicks, so she seized her chance and reacted forward. Midnight's Shadow swiftly ripped a hand gun out of one of their holsters, took off the safety, and fired two shots into their foreheads at point blank range. Before their bodies even hit the ground, she moved her arm and aimed her new weapon at the last soldier. Her index finger quickly squeezed the trigger and released the bullet from its chamber and buried itself in her opponent's neck. With a sickening gurgle, the man fell to his knees, clutching his throat, but still alive. Moving a step closer, Midnight's Shadow brought up the gun one last time and fired it into the man's skull. This time, he soldier fell completely over, dead.
Midnight's Shadow felt sick as she watched his face grow pale as the blood leaked from his body. In the gloom of the night, she could see dark pools forming underneath the fallen soldiers, staining the pure green grass. The dark haired woman quickly averted her eyes and turned, letting the handgun fall to the ground at her feet. She looked down and could visibly see her hands shaking. She had blood on her hands. When she shot those men, there must have been blood splatter. The young woman could see flecks of dark liquid on her hands and clothing. She knew that it was probably on her face as well. This only caused the shaking in her hands to intensify.
Her bright blue eyes strayed to Breaker, who had gotten to his feet and was now staring at her with complete disbelief and incredulity. "Who are you?" he asked her.
Midnight's Shadow scoffed. "I've been asking myself that question every day for as long as I can remember," she answered honestly.
"Hey!" a voice shouted from behind her.
Midnight's Shadow spun swiftly around to find the source of the voice. From out of the forest emerged two figures.
The first was a woman; obviously the source of the voice. She was clad in the same armor as Breaker. Her hair was a flaming red that seemed to stand out vividly against the black of her armor and the darkness of the night. In her hand she clutched what appeared to be a handheld crossbow with a targeting laser and screen.
The second figure took a moment for Midnight's Shadow to discern, for they blended in with the night too well. When they finally got close enough, she realized that it was a man. And not just any man. It was a ninja.
Midnight's Shadow gave herself a mental slap. Not another one. She got away from one ninja only to end up running into another. She thought ninjas weren't that common in the modern world and yet she seemed to keep running into them.
The man was clad in black- the same as his comrades- except for the fact that his was a different style. He wore black pants, similar to something an army grunt might wear, and black boots. It was clearly designed to give him a full range of movement. His chest piece was designed with muscles, as if to accentuate what he looked like underneath the armor. He wore a strange mask over his face with a large vizer over his eyes and the top half of his nose. Only the lips and bottom half of his nose designed into the making of the mask were visible- not to mention his ears. All in all, not a single patch of skin was visible to reveal even a sense of the man underneath. A long katana was strapped across his back, reminding Midnight's Shadow of Storm Shadow. Also like the white ninja, this black ninja was around six feet tall. Upon closer inspection, Midnight's Shadow thought she could make out the vague shape of a red tattoo on his shoulder. She couldn't tell what it was, though, through the darkness of night.
The woman and the ninja ran up to them but stopped short when they noticed the bodies lying at Midnight's Shadow's feet. The red haired woman looked stunned from the bodies, to the dark haired woman, and finally to Breaker. She pointed at the bodies. "Did you do this?" she asked the Moroccan.
He shook his head and pointed at Midnight's Shadow. "She did."
The woman looked at her with bright blue eyes. "You did this?" she asked incredulously.
Midnight's Shadow nodded stiffly, shifting her feet nervously. She still wasn't sure if she could trust them, regardless of whether they were sent to rescue her or not.
"I wouldn't have believed it if I hadn't seen it with my own eyes. In fact, I'm not sure if I believe it now," Breaker added.
The redhead nodded and returned her gaze to Midnight's Shadow. Unexpectedly, a smile appeared on her face, softening the hard persona. "I'm Scarlett. And this," she turned and gestured to the black clad ninja beside her, "is Snake Eyes." She turned back to Midnight's Shadow. "What's your name?"
The dark haired woman visibly hesitated. She wasn't sure if she should tell them her name. Though, they were slowly starting to win her over on the fact that they weren't the bad guys here. Still, that didn't mean she trusted them. Though, she supposed that sharing her name didn't exactly require her trust. Besides, it was a nickname or codename like theirs were. So it shouldn't stand out too much. "Umm, Midnight's Shadow," she said slowly, her blue eyes searching their faces for a reaction.
Scarlett merely nodded, the smile still on her face. "Alright, Shadow. The battle is pretty much wrapping up, so we're going to take you someplace safe."
She took a few steps toward Midnight's Shadow. The dark haired woman flinched back at her approach, despite herself. After what she had done to Breaker and those soldiers only moments before, she was scared of what might happen to Scarlett if she got too close.
"It's alright. I'm not going to cuff or drug you," she told her gently. Midnight's Shadow found it somewhat amusing and frightening, though, at the fact that she had just mentioned two things that the men who had her imprisoned had done to her. In one swift movement, Scarlett sheathed her crossbow in a holster at her leg. "I just wanted to come and make sure you weren't hurt or anything."
"I'm fine," she answered tersely, backing away a few steps.
"Alright then." Scarlett backed away to return to standing beside the stoic Snake Eyes. She reached up to her ear to turn on what must have been her comm. "Hey, Heavy. We've secured the package and are ready for pickup."
As if from queue, Midnight's Shadow heard the roar of an engine in the distance. It quickly grew louder as its source raced towards them. All of a sudden, a small, modern looking plane flew over the tops of the trees, whipping them into a frenzy. The dark haired woman and the other mysterious soldiers shielded their faces as the aircraft hovered in the air above them. Then, slowly but surely, it began to descend until it landed with a loud thud upon the grass near them.
Midnight's Shadow had been so absorbed in watching the plane land that she hadn't noticed Scarlett come to stand beside her. "Ready to go?" she asked, smiling as she noticed the startled look on her face.
With a stiff nod, Midnight's Shadow walked towards the strange plane, followed closely by her new gatekeepers.