Chapter Three: Hunters

Cape Girardeau Airport and Air Base – Infirmary

A Week Later

Barnes poked his head out of the Infirmary and looked around a bit before looking back at Samantha, who had their hatchlings on her back

"It's all clear." He said to them before he left the infirmary before stopping outside to wait for Samantha, who walked alongside him to their hangar and giving their children, their first encounter with the outdoors

"I really hope they stay up here..." Samantha said to Barnes as she looked back the hatchlings who curiously studying the entire area around them

"They will." He replied when they ran into Wensky and Katie as they left their hangar

"Awwww...they're so cute!" Katie said as she looked at the three Night Fury hatchlings as they stared back at them with wide, excited eyes, "What are their names?"

"Leon, Zoey, and Anna." Samantha replied, "This is their first time outside since they were born."

"So I guess you're taking them to your hangar?" Wensky asked them

"Yeah." Barnes replied

"Well don't let us keep you waiting then." Wensky said before he and Katie moved on while Barnes and Samantha continued on to their hangar where they found the doors opened and the Karlsons sleeping inside

"...Should we...?" Samantha asked him

Barnes snorted quietly

"Let them have their rest." He said to her as he want inside and laid against the southern wall of the hangar while Samantha quietly closed the hangar door before going over to Barnes and laying down next to him and allowing the hatchlings to climb off her back before all three laid down next to her

"Barnes, shouldn't you be getting us some food?" Samantha asked him as he was about to place his wing over her and the hatchlings

"Dammit keep forgetting." Barnes though to himself before getting up and going to the hangar door, opening it before walking out and closing it again and then taking off into the sky and flying toward the fishing pond that Toothless and Hiccup had shown him two days earlier, leaving Samantha and the hatchlings while Tesla, awoken by the sound of Barnes opening and closing the hangar door lifted her head up

"Wha..." She said tiredly before seeing Samantha and her hatchlings, "Oh wow..didn't know you guys were going to be coming in here today. So where did Barnes go?"

"To get us breakfast, so what are you guys doing in here?" Samantha asked her

"We...uhhh...uhhh...wanted to be alone for a while." She replied

Samantha snorted

"It must get pretty tiresome sharing a hangar with Gaulle and Carville." She said to Tesla

"Oh you have no idea..." She replied before looking at the hatchlings, who more than curious of the Monstrous Nightmares as they cocked their heads at Tesla, "Huh I imagine they would be bigger than that."

Samantha snorted

"After the pain I endured delivering them, I'm glad they weren't." She said to her, "So has anything happened while I was in the infirmary?"

"Not really." She replied, "So how are you?"

"I'm fine." Samantha said to her

"Good to hear." She replied while she nudged her husband to wake him up

"What is it?" Karlson said tiredly

"Time to wake up." She replied while Karlson sighed and lifted up head before opening his eyes and seeing Samantha

"Are we intruding on anything?" He asked her

"No, I'm actually enjoying the company of others." She replied

Karlson nodded

"So how are the little buggers?" He asked her

"They've been so calm so far, but Toothless said they usually don't become active until about three weeks." She replied

"Glad to hear that they're okay." Karlson said to her, "What about Barnes?"

"He's been doing well and he's been starting to get better at getting us food." She replied, "Other than that I think he's enjoying being a father, he just loves little Zoey here to death."

Zoey looked back at her mother and cried

South of the Air Base

Barnes was flying past the small town of Kelso on his way back to the airbase when he heard several shots rang out from the wooded area below as bullets zipped past him and Barnes immediately began to maneuver to avoid being hitting

"Watch your fire assholes!" Barnes shouted down to the Hunters below him with his translation collar, but kept firing, "These guys are trying to kill me!", "This is Dice-1 to Cape Girardeau Air Base, I'm talking small arms fire from possible hostiles in a wooded area near Kelso and require immediate assistance!"

"Roger that Dice-1, we've got reinforcements in route, please standby." A APM Officer replied

"Roger that." Barnes said as he continued to dodge the hunters' fire before one lucky round shot off part of his right ear, "That's it!"

Barnes noticed a camouflaged pick up truck in the forest and immediately started to charge up a shot before diving down at it and fire blasting the truck that bursted into flames as he flew back up into the sky and found his target, one of the hunters who were sitting in a hunting stand mounted to one of the trees before he charged up another shot and dove down again before fire blasting the hunter, who jumped off the stand before the shot hit and blasted it to pieces while Barnes flew back into the sky while several APM VTOLs flew into view and landed outside the wooded area where the hunters were at, depositing a platoon of APM Shocktroopers

Cape Girardeau Air Base

Barnes and the VTOLs returned to the air base where everybody was waiting for them

"Are you okay?!" Samantha asked as she ran up to him

"I'm fine." He replied until she saw the part of his ear that had been shot off

"Liar!" She said as she started to lick him, "But at least you're okay!"

The VTOLs landed nearby and kicked up a cloud of dust before they shut off their engines and open their doors allowing the Shocktroopers to disembark with the Hunters, who were no other than ex-Blackwater mercenaries

"Take them to the brig!" Karlson said to the Shocktroopers

"Yes sir." One of them replied before they Escorted the hunters to the brig while Karlson went over to check on Barnes while he hugged Samantha with his right wing

"How's the ear?" Karlson asked him

"It's fine, it doesn't hurt." He replied while Toothless and Hiccup gave it a closer look

"Can you still hear out of it?" Hiccup asked him

"Yeah." He replied

"Well I hate to say this, but I think this mean it isn't safe for any of us to travel outside of the airbase alone." Karlson said to them, "And I mean that for all of us."

Barnes snorted

"I agree." He said to him, "From this point on, none of us fly out of this airbase without escorts because as far as we know, there maybe more of those guys out there."

"I'll also be posting guards at all of our fishing areas to make sure nobody tries to set up an ambush." Karlson added

"Anything that keeps my head mounted on my neck rather than on somebody's wall." Wensky replied while Vasili, a Russian post-human Gronckle snorted in agreement

"Well come on Sam, we still need to feed the kiddies." Barnes said to Samantha before they started to head to their hangar

"I really hope this was a isolated incident." She said to him telepathically

"I hope so too." He replied

APM Central Command Bunker

Later that Night

Reaper was in his office while Luke Twones, the director of the CIA sat next to him as they reviewed Karlson's report about the ex-Blackwater mercenaries who tried to kill Barnes

"Something just isn't right about this Reaper, I reviewed all of Blackwater's personnel files and these guys were listed as KIA before the war even started." Twones said to Reaper

"Yeah I've noticed and they're also listed as special operations." He replied

"Do you think this is part of a larger operation to get back at us?" Twones asked him

"I hope not, but we can't be for certain. Gene Corp hard-wiped most of their computer data before we could get on our hands on it including the location of another research facility involved in some other project of theirs." He replied

"Well these guys were defiantly not acting alone though, so there's probably more of them or another party involved." Twones said to him

Reaper sighed

"Twones, I am not going to take any chances with this. I want you to put a team together to investigate this, turn over every *$#$ing stone between here and Phoenix if you have too. If this is part of a larger operation, I want to know before they can hit us again." He said to him

"So I guess this means the Gene Corp War is still on?" He asked him

"Not officially, but not a word of this is to be repeated outside of this office." He replied, "Last thing we need is a panic and the last I need is a bunch of pissed off fire breathing post-humans roaming the countryside."