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Body Count: Bank Heist
The flashing of the police lights lit up the darkened lobby with a strobe of blue and red. Two men stood, rifles in hand, watching the careful activity that was unfolding in front of them.
“When d’ya think they’ll send in another team?” The first asked, casually glancing at the shattered bodies that sprawled across the floor. “Boss told ‘em we’ve got no shortage of traps, yea?”
“I’m sure he warned them.” The second man glanced back at the vaults, where flickering light and an occasional curse emanated. “Wonder how we’re getting out now that they’ve got a powerful enough teleport block up.”
“Probably going to have to rely on Bart’s girl. Fucking hate that bitch.”
“Me too.” The man turned back from the vault and motioned at two figures nearby. “Hey! Mark! Check the prisoners.”
One of the shadows jerked and a man leaned forwards into the light. “What? Why me?”
“Because I told you to, idiot. Do it.”
Mark grit his teeth and stood, grabbing his gun from beside him. “Fuck you.”
“Save it for your bitch.” The second man watched Mark walk out of sight and shook his head. “Or should I say for your end.”
The first man smiled slightly. “He’s our fall?”
“We might accidentally leave him behind.” The second man smirked. “About time, too. His bird was getting annoying.”
“Aeris.” Mark called down the hall. “Get out here.”
There was a pause before a Harpy stuck her head out of a door and blinked at her Tamer. “Master?”
“We’re supposed to check the prisoners again.” Mark snarled. “Come on.”
Aeris stepped out behind him and the two entered one of the inner offices where a group of people either sat or lay on the floor.
“Master Mark.” A pokegirl straightened up as they entered. “Is something wrong?”
“Alan, in his infinite wisdom, has me doing bitch work.” Mark spat back. “How are the prisoners?”
“All dozen are still right where you left them a few minutes ago.” The pokegirl jerked a clawed thumb back at the huddled group. “After I showed one of the Pokegirls her place the rest fell right in line.”
“Alright.” Mark cast his eyes over the group before they narrowed. “A dozen?”
“Yea? They’re all he-“
“We only had eleven.”
The clawed pokegirl blinked and her expression grew confused before she slowly shook her head. “We had eleven. I count...”
Mark’s eyes were drawn to one of the sitting figures and he readied his rifle. “You. On the edge. Stand up.”
The woman shrunk away from his gaze and he stepped closer. “I said get UP.”
She hesitated but reached forwards and started leveraging herself to her feet. As she reached, Mark caught a glimpse of her left arm out of the corner of his eye. The pattern didn't seem like anything for a moment until her sleeve pulled up, revealing an insignia he only saw in his nightmares. His eyes widened before he swore and swung his rifle to bear. “FUCK! YOU’RE A-“
“MY PEOPLE ARE DEAD!”
The inside of the command vehicle was lit by a low light strip and the glow of the various screens that showed a clear view of the outside world. In stark contrast to the muted technology stood an enraged man in uniform, an insignia on his shoulder marking him as a Captain of the BLSF. The figure he was screaming at betrayed no outward emotion while he listened to the tirade.
“THEY KILLED MY TEAM, AND NOW YOU’RE JUST GOING TO GIVE THEM THEIR DEMANDS!?”
“Captain Abraham. I will excuse your current behavior and attribute it to shock, so do not take that tone with me.” The second figure’s eyes flashed. “You underestimated the terrorists and allowed them to dictate your engagement. You killed your team due to your emotions and WEAKNESS!” The figure leaned forwards, causing Abraham to stumble back. “The only reason you are still standing in this vehicle is because of my respect for you. Do not make me reevaluate.”
“N... no, sir.” Abraham stuttered. “I... it’s just...”
“These men will not go unpunished.” The second figure leaned back and turned to a screen. “But we have lost all element of surprise. We need to move this situation forward to a point where there are not eleven hostages to be added to the body count. Civilian life must be protected at all costs.”
Abraham winced and bowed his head. “I understand.”
“You aren’t a bad commander, Abe.” The figure smiled softly. “This situation was just out of your league.”
“Execute. Execute. Execute.” A small radio buzzed to life on the figure’s shoulder. “Guard checked early. Execute.”
The figure snatched the receiver. “Alpha two, are the hostages secure?”
“Hostages secure. EXECUTE!”
“Team you are weapons free. Repeat, weapons free.” The figure whirled to a screen and began pulling up feeds Abraham didn’t recognize. “Good hunting, Alpha leader.”
“What the hell?” Abraham breathed when the feeds exploded in light.
“FUCK! YOU’RE A-“ The man screamed, but Alpha two was already in motion. The tattoo that had scared the terrorist now glowed with magical light, the snarling skull transfixing the Harpy in place even as her Master’s chest was ripped open by Alpha two’s enhanced strength. The clawed pokegirl managed to get a swing in before she was crumpling backwards, a caved chest and spray of brain matter showing how she had been hit.
“Execute. Execute. Execute.” Alpha two hissed into a throat mic. “Guard checked early. Execute.” She turned to the Harpy and raised her pistol, nodding when the pokegirl immediately collapsed and extended trembling arms over her head. “Smart girl. You might even make it out alive.”
“‘You will know them by the skull, the specter, the eyes.’” Aeris recited in terror. “’Beware the arm of death. Beware, for they bring your demise.’”
Alpha two smirked. “Been a while since I’ve heard that. Who told you that stanza, your Tamer?” She glanced at the dead man. “He seemed to recognize it too.”
Aeris slowly nodded her head, the shaking now extending through her entire body. “P-p-please don’t k-kill me.”
“Relax, girl.” Alpha two queued up her mic again. “Hostages secure. EXECUTE!” She turned her attention back to the Harpy. “You and I get to sit this one out.”
Aeris had begun to open her mouth when a barrier of light erupted from the now uniformed pokegirl, the dome of force enveloping the whispering hostages.
“Hold on, birdy.” Alpha two braced herself. “The rest of them are dead.”
“Roger command. Executing.” Alpha Leader glanced to her side and nodded, prompting one of the two shadows that crouched next to her to twist forwards and carefully attach two charges around the door.
“Six, we are go.” Alpha Leader waited for confirmation before raising her hands and focusing. “Three. Execute on my mark. Three. Two. One. Mark.”
The adrenaline always made the explosion seem slower than it was. Alpha Leader watched the fuse light, igniting the blasting caps and chaining through the high explosives as the shaped charges ripped through the reinforced tungsten bank door. She didn’t even process the noise, her earplugs sealing when the shockwave hit and allowing her to step inside and remain in full control of her balance.
“KILL zone, DETONATING!” She screamed, her outstretched arms flashing before erupting into flame that engulfed the short hallway and spilled out into the lobby.
“THEY’RE COMING IN!” The first man staggered when he felt the blast and tried to bring his rifle to bear against the ringing in his ears. “THEY’RE-“
The third explosion caused him to stumble and he whirled, rifle waving as he desperately tried to focus on the figure that stood where the front of the building used to be.
“Five. Shot.” The figure barely moved when the man in front of them collapsed, blood spraying from where the sniper had hit her mark. “Traversing.”
“He’s mine.” Alpha Six leapt, swords appearing in her hands as she cleared the previous killzone and slammed her blades into the second man’s chest and throat. He gagged, blood trickling from his mouth when Alpha Six withdrew her blades and easily separated him from his rifle. “Five.”
“Shot.” The second figure that had been diving for the hallway spun away, the light from the broken wall showing a pokegirl with a hole through her shoulder. “Missed.”
“Four.” Alpha Six moved her head slightly as two shots rang out, Alpha Four moving in behind her Leader and finishing off the struggling pokegirl. “Four and Six clearing.”
“Roger.” Alpha Five raised her head from her scope before refocusing on the vault door. “Five has lobby.”
“Leader and Three on vault.” Alpha Leader stepped forwards, her eyes flickering with the same flame that she had just used to cleanse the traps from the hall. “Bomb in two. One. Detonate.”
Alpha Four and Alpha Six rounded the corner to the same hallway Alpha Two had infiltrated and inched towards the half-open door before an explosion blasted behind them. “Going low.” Alpha Four muttered, causing her partner to nod slightly and reach out with one of her blades. As she tapped the door open it disintegrated in a hail of bullets, prompting Alpha Four to dive in and pepper the source. “CLEAR!”
Alpha Six stepped forwards and nodded at the mangled remains of the human that sat there. “Well done.” She paused. “Body count is missing one.”
Alpha Four cursed and whirled. “Which?”
“Fuck! She could be anywhere.”
“Could be.” Alpha Six glanced around. “We need to clear to Two.”
“Roger.” The two stepped back into the hallway, carefully moving towards the door at the end. “Four to Two, the golden eagle roars.”
“The blackened tiger dies.” Came the response, the door swinging open to reveal Alpha Two and her protective bubble. “Took you girls long enough.”
“We’re missing one. Seen the Vampire around?” Alpha Six whispered.
“That’s a negative. Just this prisoner.” Alpha Two prodded the Harpy. “Where’s Leader?”
“Clearing the vault.” The three swayed as another explosion rocked the building. “Funny. She usually only uses one.”
“I should rotate. Six, take control of this.” Alpha Two dropped the bubble and stepped forwards as a patch of floor beneath Aeris began to darken.
The Harpy screamed when the Vampire grabbed her leg and began lunging with her blade, only to be met with a barrage of gunfire that turned what little she had phased to an unrecognizable paste. The three lowered their weapons simultaneously and Six let out a barking laugh. “Stupid bitch. Nice bait, Two.”
“Thanks.” Alpha Two turned and began jogging to the lobby, slowing when she saw Alpha Leader and Alpha Three huddled behind the front counter. “Leader, Two is on site.”
“She’s got blast resistance.” Two winced when she heard the scream from the vault and fire blew across her team’s hiding place. “Thanks for joining the party, Two.”
“Five has no shot.” The sniper panned across the darkened vault in frustration. “All you, Two.”
“Roger.” Alpha Two raised a hand, water beginning to pool around her arm. “Pattern?”
“Three, two…” Alpha Leader’s countdown was interrupted by another Flamethrower. As it hit zero the flames snapped off, allowing Alpha Two to round the corner and unleash the Hydro Pump into the stunned Charamanda. The surprise water attack sent the lizard girl flying until she impacted against the vault wall, her head bending at an unnatural angle as her body went limp.
“Down!” Alpha Two yelled, prompting Alpha Leader and Alpha Three to break cover and begin running towards the vault. “Confirming casualties.”
Back in the command vehicle the man sat, watching as the feed switched from the lobby to a tinted view of the inside of the vault. “All hostile girls are down.” Alpha Leader broadcast. “PoI MIA. Searching.”
He leaned forwards as the three searched the vault, breathing a sigh of relief when he saw the body appear in time with Alpha Leader’s callout. “PoI down. Severe burns and likely a concussion, but he’s breathing. Beginning extraction.”
“Good work, girls. Wrap it up, get the hostages to medical.” The man leaned back and glanced at the BLSF Captain. “Well, Abraham?”
Abraham bowed his head slightly. “It’s a shame all of the terrorists died in the assault.”
The man grinned. “See, you learn quick. You’ll be fine, once you iron out the pride thing.” He turned back to the screens. “The DSA will take it from here. If we’re right, we just nabbed a big fish. Sideviper has been a thorn in our side for far too long. It’s not the head, but it’s damn close.”
“Thank you, Manny.” The man turned to see Abraham at full attention. “My men rest easy knowing they have been avenged.”
Manny smiled slightly. “It’s our job, Captain.” He turned away and absentmindedly stroked his tattooed arm. “It’s what we do.”