Chapter 2- You're A Good Man Charlie Brown
After the papers were processed, James and Agent Brown entered the Flight Hanger to board the the Brenner TX-19 or as Agent Brown liked to call it “The Black Betty.” On its exterior, the Black Betty looked like large stealth bomber. It almost had the shape of an arrowhead except the tail and the wings gave it an M pattern on the rear. James and Agent Brown entered the lounge room; it had white walls, suede seats, a gray carpet, and mahogany furniture.
“Wow! Pretty high end for a government aircraft,” James commented.
“We make full use of the resources we are given.” Brown modestly replied.
“Nice to see our tax dollars at work.” James mused, barely hiding any sarcasm behind the statement.
Agent Brown hovered instinctively towards the minibar pouring a small glass of scotch. “Take a seat Cavanaugh, we have a lot to talk about,” he said before taking a long sip from his glass.
James sat down and asked “Where should we start?”
Agent Brown slowly walked over to the seat across from James, “Why don’t you tell me about what happened last night.”
“What would be the point? You’ve already read my statement.” James protested.
“I don’t doubt the truthfulness of your statement. If I thought you were lying I wouldn’t have bothered recruiting you.” Charlie said in a reassuring tone. “I just think it would be helpful if I heard your full side of the story.”
“Fine” James reluctantly conceded, “Let’s just get this over with.” His eyes drifted out of the cabin window as he reflected on his recent memories.
24 hours ago,
James point of view:
I was cleaning my sidearm when Corporal Hayden walked into the barracks.
“Cavanaugh, Wu, Quinn! Sergeant Taylor wants us assembled for our briefing in ten minutes. That means be ready in five," Hayden said in an assertive voice before quickly exiting.
“Sounds like things are about to get interesting!” Wu smirked.
“Don’t get cocky Brendon; I can only save your life so many times.” I said with a grin.
“Oh please!” Brendon retorted while strapping on his helmet, “You would have never made out of basic if it wasn’t for me.”
Jessica chuckled while putting on her chestgear, “Boys and their egos.”
“Ready yet Quinny?” I asked impatiently.
“Almost there Jimmy,” she smirked while retying her boots, knowing how much I hated being called Jim.
“That’s Lance Corporal Cavanaugh to you rookie!” I shot back in a snarky manner. I may have only had the higher rank for five months now, but I was already infatuated with playing the seniority card.
Just before we exited our quarters Wu asked “Wait a minute, we’re not gonna do it?"
“Do we really have too?” PFC Quinn asked reluctantly.
I shrugged, “Well it’s always been a tradition with our team.” I emphasized.
We huddled and each placed a hand in the center, “3, 2, 1, OORAH!” we all shouted before exiting the room.
When we entered the briefing the only people in the room were the Sergeant and all three Corporals. Like always, we were the first team to show up and our CO delivered a self assured sneer to his fellow Corporals. Sergeant Taylor growled, he appreciated punctuality but had no patience for showboating.
One by one, the other marines entered, each hoping they were not the last to arrive. Finally PFC Sinclair stumbled in with his tail between his legs, even the new kid Kilbourn managed to show up on time.
Sergeant Taylor roared “PFC SINCLAIR! YOU WERE TOLD TO BE HERE IN 10 MINUTES OVER 13 MINUTES AGO, DO YOU CARE TO EXPLAIN WHY YOU HAVE WASTED THREE MINUTES OF OUR TIME!?” Corporal Schaefer could only shake his head in disappointment.
“MY APOLOGIES SERGEANT!” Sinclair yelped, “I WAS TRYING TO ADJUST THE SIZE OF MY HELMET SIR!” I pitied Sinclair; his helmet was actually bigger than his head. It seemed cruel to put such a frail kid in the ground forces, he definitely had more brains than brawn and would’ve fared much better in one of the tech divisions. He probably wouldn't have had so much to prove if his father wasn’t such a gung-ho politician.
After the Sergeant cooled off he regained his focus and began to fill us in. “Listen up Marines! We have fresh intel that an group of insurgents have acquired a new stockpile of weapons. The weapons are currently being held in a small fortress approximately 3 klicks east of COP (coalition outpost) Margah. Our task is to eliminate all insurgents in the area and deliver the weapons to COP Margah. Understood?”
“SIR, YES SIR!” we all replied.
18 hours ago:
The sun was about to set. After doing some reconnaissance we were all in position. All of the insurgents were either armed or in close proximity to a weapon, 12 guards outside only five of which were facing south, 3 guards were on the roof, 10 guards inside with the containers, and no civilians were in sight. Sergeant Taylor and fire team 1 held the high ground with a mortar in place to penetrate the walls; they were about 500 meters south of the target. Fire team 3 was able to prone within 400 meters southwest of the target. Finally fire team 2, my team, was located 475 meters southeast of the target. We waited for the Sergeant’s signal and the rest was second nature.
Fire team 1 fired the first mortar shell, killing 6 hostiles and caving in the south wall of the building. Fire team 3 provided suppressive fire while my team advanced 100 meters. A second mortar round was fired killing only 2 hostiles this time. Within 2 and a half minutes the enemy had formed a line 50 yards south of the target area and our full rifle squad had mobilized itself at 300 yards south of the target area, at this point in the firefight it was 15 to 13.
As soon as the hostiles recovered enough to fire back we knew something was terribly wrong. The enemy was using modified rifles we have never seen before, firing purple, incendiary lasers that exploded on impact with any surface it touched. It became abundantly clear that cover was now useless so we all switched to prone. This only reaffirmed how crucial it was for us to recover the weapons.
Our opponents were clearly outmatched, even with the advanced weaponry, sloppy formations and poor communication tilted the odds in our favor. By the 8 minute the firefight was over. The only casualties from the firefight were Lance Corporal Redding and Corporal Fletcher.
Corporal Schaefer had some experience in combat medicine so he was called over to examine the wound. “It looks like these wounds have already cauterized, but the damage still looks severe.” He inferred. He examined both wounds before he asked “Fletch, how far can you lift your arm?”
Corporal Fletcher could barely raise his arm before screeching in pain, it takes a lot of pain to make a Corporal scream that loud.
Schaefer winced immediately regretting his previous question. He turned to Dale “What about your leg Redding?”
Redding replied “It’s pretty bad, Corporal Schaefer, the muscles seem dead but I can still feel pain in it.”
Corporal Hayden stepped between Schaefer and Taylor “There’s no way that he can walk on that” he concluded.
“Private Kilbourn, you have family in the weapons industry, don’t you?” Sergeant Taylor asked.
“Um, that’s correct sir, my family owns a weapon’s factory, it’s a family business.” Kilbourn confirmed.
Sergeant Taylor picked up one of the rifles and put it in Benji’s hands, “Have you’ve ever seen anything like this?”
Private Kilbourn examined the rifle then said “It looks like it was modeled after an AK-47, but I’ve never seen an ammo system like this. Even Star Lab lasers overheat, but this seems to have a cooling system and liquid cartridges that slowly regenerate, it's remarkable!”
“That’s enough Private!” Taylor said. He looked at Redding and Schaefer, exhaled, and spoke, “Rifle teams 1 and 2 inspect the remains of the target building and search for as many of these weapons as you can find. Private Kilbourn, keep an eye on Redding and Fletcher. Lance Corporal Fuentes, search any undamaged vehicles then drive your team back to COP Margah, use extreme caution and keep an eye out for IED’s. I’m going to radio in a transport for the weapons shipment."
We searched through the rubble, gathering anything that looked suspicious. Besides more of these strange rifles, Wu found some time stamped documents the earliest dating back to 4 days ago. It was written in a foreign language, we couldn’t read it but we were certain it wasn’t Arabic.
Deep down I wanted to tell them about how the lasers reminded me of my own powers, but I couldn’t, I knew if they saw that side of me things would never be the same. Maybe I was selfish, or maybe I just wanted to be accepted.
Suddenly we heard shots fired. All of our remaining members (teams 1 & 2) advanced to the north side of the building to see 8 men glaring back at us. 6 of the men were wearing identical uniforms. They wore all black armor with glowing red goggles over their eyes. Each had a full black ballistic masks and one had a purple ^ logo on his forehead. The armored men were equipped with the same customized rifles we just found. The other two men looked completely different. The taller man was wearing a black suit with charcoal grey pinstripes, a white dress shirt, and a matching tie. He was holding a black sword with purple vapors fuming from the dark steel. The shorter man was wearing a Guy Fawkes mask with a tattered long sleeve shirt and ripped jeans. He had throwing knives gripped between each finger.
The man in the suit moved forward a step, stared directly at me “You weren’t supposed to be here.” He said with a light Scottish accent.
“Oh dear! It looks like we’ll just have to kill them all!” The shorter man exclaimed in a British accent, quickly raising his knives.
“OPEN FIRE!” Sergeant Taylor commanded.
Back on the plane:
“After that, things got pretty hazy.” James said. “We fired our weapons but they were useless against these men. We were all dead or wounded before any of us could get to the special weapons. All I really remember is lying on the ground bleeding with the man in the suit standing over me. He was about to finish me when I blasted a hole through his chest. I thought I killed him but he just vanished and reappeared unscathed. After that I just--passed out. When I awoke my wounds healed themselves and I was taken to an interrogation room where I eventually met you.”
“Wow!” was all Agent Brown could manage to say.
“Any more questions?” James asked.
Agent Brown was about to continue before he looked at James then said, “They can wait. Maybe you should get some rest, you look exhausted.”
“Thanks Charlie! It’s rare to find someone who has your back. I don’t know what’s in store for me with the DEO, but if you’re calling the shots I’m sure it won’t be half bad.” James said while reclining his seat.
“Sure thing Cavanaugh.” Charlie smiled drinking the last sip of his scotch. He was surprised how much James reminded him of himself at that age.
More chapters can be found at the Lucifer Grimm Library.