Captain Jaime McCoy shrunk behind his piece of cover, the ground shaking as the explosive went off somewhere nearby. Rising back up, he sprayed the opposite side of the corridor with bullets alongside the rest of his squad. Next to him, Corporal Alan went flying backwards as he was hit from a nearby window. Crouching, the Captain keyed his earpiece.
"Jenkins! Sniper; three story building, second floor!" he shouted, unhooking a grenade of his own before chucking it down the hall. A moment passed and it detonated, the rest of McCoy's men halting in their fire as silence sounded from ahead.
"Did… did we get him?" Trooper Tara whispered.
"Form up, shoot anything that moves," McCoy ordered, slapping a fresh magazine into his rifle before taking point.
The hall was still filled with lingering smoke, the walls pelted with rounds. Nothing could have possibly avoided that much ordinance, yet as they continued a body was nowhere to be seen.
"Well, shit," Trooper Philip murmured, "Anyone else suddenly feel a lot more expendable?"
"Just you, Philly boy," Sergeant Oscar chuckled, stopping as he heard something, "Anybody hear th-"
The Sergeant looked up and his eyes went wide, shotgun raising up in an instant and firing. Unfortunately, the shot went wide and his head jerked back as he was shot in the head. The others turned to see what happened, a figure descending from above before they could move.
Philip was hit twice in the chest while Tara managed to avoid the first shot, but mis-stepped and tripped over Philip's body. The figure leveled his sidearm to finish the trooper off, but was caught off guard as his weapon was shot from his grasp. Turning, he dove away from the burst of fire from McCoy's weapon, not skipping a beat as he lunged at the Captain.
Both men went tumbling backwards; McCoy's assault clattering away as he braced his boots against his attack and sent him flying off of him. McCoy had barely managed to stand before his attacker was on him again, a fist flying towards him that missed by a hair's breath, leaving a small impression on the metal wall it impacted instead. McCoy responded with a punch of his own, a hard right hook connecting with the man's jaw. He stumbled back, shaking off the hit, but the Captain gave no quarter. He laid into the man, landing several more hits before his attacker recover and began to block them with relative ease. Despite this, McCoy continued as he avoided the man's own attacks with the grace of a boxer. However, it wasn't long before the Captain found himself running out of steam.
Though he was expecting it, McCoy was too slow to stop the man as he seemed to have grown bored, backhanding his latest attack aside and lunging forward. He pinned McCoy to the wall by the neck, keeping him nearly a foot off the ground while his previously expressionless face broke into a grin.
"Close," the man grinned, "But no cigar."
"Are you sure about that?" McCoy grunted.
Raising a brow, the man looked down to see the Captain's own sidearm pressed against his chest. Seeing this, the man chuckled before releasing the man, stepping back and dusting himself off as a buzzer sounded. McCoy coughed, rubbing his neck as his men begrudgingly came back from the dead, their uniforms now running with bright florescent paint.
"Simulation over," a voice announced over the intercom, "Final score, Agents: Twenty-nine, Peacekeepers: One."
"Wait a second," Philip said, pausing in his attempts to stand, "We… we won?"
"And we only took ninety-nine percent losses," McCoy smirked, helping the young Trooper to his feet, "I'd say that's a new record."
"The Director's gonna be pissed," Tara said.
"At who?" Oscar snorted, "Us for winning? Or him for losing?"
"Agents Cole and Kusunoki, please report to the Castle for debriefing."
"Nice job, all of you," Scott Cole nodded, "No matter what The Director says, that was some nice work."
"Have fun," McCoy said, offering the Agent his hand.
"Wish you were there," Scott replied, taking the offered hand and shaking.
"Today would be preferable, Agent Cole."
"It's so good to feel loved," Scott chuckled, retrieving and holstering his sidearm before vaulting out of a nearby window and landing on the pavement nearly a dozen feet below. He landed with a thud, though he broke into a jog a moment later like it had been nothing. McCoy watched him bound up the steps leading into the arena, accompanied by another man dressed in similar armor. He hesitated, watching the two men depart before he turned back to his men.
"Come on, Phil. Let's go make sure you didn't break anything."
The Agency command center was a hive of activity, filled with high-tech equipment and brilliant Peacekeepers manning them. Sitting in three parts in each spire of the Peacekeeper's island fortress, The Keep, each one was designated with watching over one of the three different districts of Pacific City. Inside Spire One, better known as The Castle, the air was a tense silence despite there being over thirty Peacekeepers going about their work.
Most, if not all occasionally snuck a glance at the man standing on the platform in the center of the room, hands held behind his back as he looked over a number of screens playing back the skirmish. He stood tall and capable, despite his graying hair, and even though he seemed stoic and collected everyone was waiting for when he would explode. However, as he continued to watch the footage unfold he merely sighed, bringing up a hand to massage his temples as he turned to his assistance.
"Well?" he asked.
"They should be here any second now, Director," Major Alicia Moreno replied meekly, gripping her clipboard tightly as she seemed to shrink under his gaze.
True to her words, the elevator at the end of the room opened a few moments later. In stepped an African and Asian man; both wearing full Kevlar armor and standing at six feet tall, they quickly grabbed the attention of the room.
"I'm glad you finally decided to join us, Agents," the Director deadpanned.
"Director," they said in unison, standing at attention after meeting him on the platform. Both men remained silent as he looked them both over, expression deep in thought as everyone held their breath. Then, with a smile, he looked over his shoulder at the large glass windows showing off a setting sun.
"I do so love this time of day," he mused, "Take a walk with me, won't you?"
Wordlessly, they parted to allow him through. After he passed, Cole looked back to see Alicia's worried face and winked. Beside him, Junji Kusunoki shook his head as the two men flanked the Director as he made his way down a set of steps toward a side door. The pair of Peacekeepers standing guard stiffened as he neared, giving a rigid salute as the door slid open.
Outside, the last rays of sunlight were on their way to fading as the sun started to vanish beyond the sea, painting the sky a rich crimson. The Director admired this in silence, getting half-way to the other spire before turning around. The two men halted in their tracks, tensing as the Director's warm demeanor abruptly went out the window.
"Do you think this is fucking amateur hour?!" he snarled, closing the distance between them in an instant, "All our time and money spent on your sorry asses, and you decide to fuck up on the last trail run? Is this some kind of fucking joke?!"
Cole's eyes narrowed a fraction, and he seemed ready to give his own answer before Junji cut him off.
"With respect, Director," he began, "Until now, Agent Cole and I have passed every test beyond expectations. It was your sound judgment that decided for Task Force Omega to train with us in order to instill unit cohesion. We have indeed grown fond of the men and women of Omega, and vice versa. So when you told us we would be having a live-fire exercise we were… hesitant to cause them harm. We simply-"
"You don't have to explain, Agent Kusunoki," the Director said, composing himself, "I saw it all. Upon start of the simulation you both discarded your live-round weapons and attacked with non-lethal methods, incapacitating several members of Omega and relinquishing them of their weapons. It was precise, well-thought out, and efficient. I commend you for your effort."
"Thank you, sir."
"You, however, Agent Cole," he continued, glaring at Scott, "You decided it was in your best interest to play games with Captain McCoy and the squad with him, rather than assisting your fellow agent with the rest of his platoon. Care to explain that?"
"Junji had it covered, sir," Scott said, pausing before adding the last word, "I knew McCoy was the largest threat, so I decided it was best to neutralize him and-"
"-and in the process of your pissing contest with the Captain you got yourself killed," the Director cut him off, "You may be super-human, Agent, but you're far from the super hero you see yourself as. Bullets will kill you, should they hit the right place and enough times. I did not pick you to make stupid mistakes, Agent Cole, and I expect no more such mistakes in the future. Am I clear?"
"Do I make myself clear?!"
"Good. Despite this incident, Project Omega is still a go. You'll be hitting the streets soon, with Omega providing support when needed. Though I may not sound it sometimes, I have complete confidence both of you will make this project worthwhile. Dismissed."
As the Director stayed behind, watching the sun set, the two men exchanged glances as they backtracked.
"Asshole," Scott muttered.
"He's under a lot of stress," Junji offered, glancing over his shoulder, "He's put everything on the line to get us where we are. If we fail, everything he's worked on will go down the drain. But if we succeed, we'll be heroes! You can even wear a cape when we're done."
"You're just jealous because I could pull something like that off."
"Whatever you… what are you doing?"
"Long drop if you slip. Thinking what I'm thinking?"
"Last one down buys dinner."
"We get our meals for free, so I'll take that bet."
Watching the two men jump over the side, taunting one another as they descended, the Director allowed himself a small smile as he leaned against the railing.
"Our best and brightest... well, maybe our best."
A/N: Yes, I'm back and submitting something new that's not DOH for once. Sorry about that, but I'm trying out something new for a bit. On that note, what do you guys/gals/others think? Interested? Want me to continue? Let me know!