The snow fell quietly along the edge of the tall pines, the soft wind propelling the snowflakes around like miniature dancers. Yet, this beautiful display was but camouflage. Fore also among the trees were highly trained and efficient soldiers, mercenaries to be precise. Wearing a mixture of snow camo and ghillie suits, the men were invisible in this winter wonderland. But this wonderland was about to be a battlefield. These men were not here to throw snowballs, but hand grenades. Not build Frosty, but melt him. It was the calm before the snow, a firestorm.
The first man to make a move was the leader, Hawk. Hawk sported a G36C with a thermal A.C.O.G. scope, so as to spot his targets much easier, and to call them out for execution. However, right now he was using a pair of high powered binoculars to survey the area. The contract that they had been employed for was to cripple a fortress of Russian militants, steal or destroy the weapon caches, and free any prisoners they may have captive.
The fortress was newer than some of the previous sites Hawk had visited during other jobs. This was one was made from newer building materials and of a more modern design, which also meant it had modern security and weaponry safeguarding it. Hawk withdrew his binoculars and stared curiously at the structure. As large and well guarded the fortress may be, it was also very open. Now, this would be a problem for infantry, but not for airstrikes. Hawk chuckled to himself, then motioned for a nearby soldier to approach.
The soldier caught immediate sight of his superiors signal, and he began to carefully make his way to him. "Hawk?" the soldier asked through his white balaclava. "Spoof," Hawk replied in his British accent, recognizing the soldiers code name. "Radio Cowboy. Give him the best approach and strike method for penetrating and rattling this fortress." Spoof stared bewildered at Hawk for a moment, but before he could speak, another soldier broke the silence. "Hawk?" a large soldier positioned nearby asked. "Is this going to be another 'Hornets Nest?' The large soldier awaited for his superiors answer curiously. Hawk chuckled again. "Yes, Moo, it is," Hawk replied with an amused tone. Spoof stared at the two men amazed at what he was hearing.
Sitting at the dash of a transport chopper, listening to band called "Dragonforce," with his legs propped up, sat the pilot known as "Cowboy." He was actually jokingly referred to as "the Asian Cowboy" but only when the guys were poking fun at him. Dressed in heavy warm, yet militant clothing, the pilot did not wear a traditional helmet but an actual cowboy hat. The radio clicked in, ruining his awesome air rift. "Cowboy! This is Spoof, do you read?" the soldiers voice clicked through. Cowboy leaned forward, boots still propped up on the dash, clicking on the respond function. "This is Cowboy, Spoof. And, like I told you last mission, we can't leave until ALL the bad guys are dead." -click- "Well, then you best start that stallion, and the party! Hornet's Nest is a go! I repeat, Hornet's Nest is a go!" -click- Cowboy stared at the dash, puzzled for a moment. Then, with a yeehaw, he kicked on the engines and readied his bird, or unicorn.
The soldiers still lurked at the edge of the forest like reapers awaiting a plague to strike a town. As soon as the men heard the whirl of the Unicorn, Hawk signaled Spoof for another transmission. "Spoof," Hawk said urgently. "Make sure Lancer knows the situation, and tell him to be ready on my signal." Spoof nodded, while leaning on his M249, relaying the message to the soldier called Lancer. By the time Spoof ended transmission, the chopper cleared the edge of the tree line, heading towards the enemy fortress. The men watched, their adrenaline beginning to pump, while their grips tightened and their muscles tensed.
The soldier began to shift and uncover hidden equipment and vehicles, snowmobiles to be precise. The men waited to begin the engines until the first volley hit the fortified base, so as not to alert the enemy to their position. Cowboys job was simply to breach the defense for the infantry, as well as cause a distraction. And so, he did just that. The men could hear the guns begin to spin and missiles begin to fly, while they simultaneously started their own engines of war. Still, they waited. They knew that the first volley always had a delayed reaction. Then, they started to hear the pops of the small arms, then the heavier weapons began to fire.
Like a wave of metal, snow, and fury these soldiers raced out from their hiding place, tired of waiting and ready for battle. They had to hurry, Cowboy could only draw the enemy fire for so long before he might be brought down. They could see Cowboy piloting Unicorn nimbly, on the opposite side of the fortress. This would delay the notice of the fast attack approaching the enemy, or so they hoped. However, the men began to hear hisses of bullets coming their way, but it was few and far between. Then, they spotted the watch tower on the eastern border of the fortress, harboring a pair of snipers.
The scope intently watched the traveling soldiers swiftly maneuvering towards the enemy stronghold. It zoomed in closer and closer, flowing over each snowmobile. Just when the scope began to steady, it shifted towards a new target. A sniper tower in the eastern part of the stronghold. With a few corrections and calculations, the sniper readied his white L96. Then, with a squeeze, he let the round loose upon his target. And it found the target, and his comrade. Leaky's spotter and guardian stared in bewilderment at him, his balaclava with a painted smile on it showing the amusement. "Did you seriously just kill both of them in one shot!?" the smiling soldier asked. Leaky smirked in response. "It's not my fault they were standing in a line, Jolly!" he replied sarcastically. Jolly shook his head, then radioed the assaulting troops. "The snipers are down! I repeat, the snipers are eliminated!"
The mobile infantry were now nearing the fortress, with more haste now that the snipers were taken care of. They could see a large gouge in the exterior wall that would allow them to enter swiftly, but what awaited them they weren't sure. They could not worry though, Cowboy was beginning to run out of time. As soon as that realization popped, so did an rpg towards Cowboy. As dodgy as he was, Unicorn was struck in side, knocking the chopped out of control.
"Bail, Cowboy! Eject!" Moo yelled fiercely over the com. "Not yet!" Cowboy yelled. "I have an idea. Pick me up inside!" Moo was about to reply, but was stopped by the sight of the chopper recovering, then careening into the enemy fortress, explosions rocking both interior and exterior. "Shit!" an angry voice replied. "There goes our ride! And our only ethnic!" Hawk heard this and knew Redneck was trying to lighten the mood, but matters were beginning to turn grave. "Let's focus on the mission," Hawk shouted. "We can worry about exfil when the job is done!" With this said, the group gunned it through the gap in the walls, entering enemy territory.
They knew the layout. They knew that the exterior wall was a giant circle, with an interior loop being left open for trucks and the like. This also allowed them to travel effectively and efficiently around the complex. The idea was to breach the wall, split into two groups (Hawk and Rage would deal with the weapon caches while Moo and Spoof would be to search for POW's and HVT's). Unfortunately, their first priority was to rescue Cowboy, or so Moo thought. "Moo!" Hawk popped in on the com. "Continue the mission. We will secure Cowboy AFTER the job is completed." Spoof popped over the com before Moo could respond. "Sir, don't you think we should find Cowboy first?" Spoof questioned his superior in a cautious tone. "He knew the risks when he signed on," Hawk replied as cold as the snow around him. "Besides, even if we can't get out of here, we can at least complete the mission...for Cowboy's sake."
The two squads split up once inside the compound, both groups focused on their objectives. Moo and Spoof headed to the eastern side of the compound, while Hawk and Redneck took the western side. However, Hawk was torn as they entered the western side, where the carnage of the Unicorn lay, and the enemy had gathered. "Redneck," Hawk sparked over the com sharply. "Are you feeling particularly angry today?" Redneck smirked. "Yes, sir! Ready to rage!" "Good," Hawk replied. "We are going to need it if we are going to save Cowboy." Hawk could only hear excited laughter over the com as the two plowed into the enemies that had gathered, each dropping a grenade into the crowds they passed through.
Moo and Spoof slowed as they reached the entry point to the interior compound. As their engines went quiet, they could hear two explosions from the other side of the compound. Moments later, Hawk and Redneck raced past them, followed by two trucks with soldiers in it. "Keep going!" Hawk yelled as he weaved between the shots spamming the area. Before the two trucks could pass, Moo and Spoof knelt down. Moo threw a satchel into the road ahead of the trucks and Spoof braced his LMG. The first truck hurriedly chased the two original targets, but exploded as it drove over the det pack. Part of the truck went up, as the other half went backwards, no enemies emerging from the carnage. The second truck came to a halt just a few meters from where the other had exploded, but they did not have enough time exit before Spoof's gun chewed through the vehicle, terminating all the Russians inside.
Hawk and Redneck were now bogey-less and ready for round two. This time, they would fight on foot. Hawk let his snowmobile charge into a group of enemies as he bailed of, his German engineered weapon snatching the life from each target quickly. Redneck placed a charge pack on his steering column, then bailed off. Redneck raged at the sight of the snowmobile stopping short of his targets, that is, until they decided to take cover behind it. With a smirk, and a click, the other group was eliminated with a puff of fire and metal. Hawk walked over to Redneck and slapped him on the back of his head. "We are going to need those charges," he exclaimed. "Yeah," Redneck replied. "But it was cool." The two gathered themselves, then approached the wrecked chopper. Neither of them sure of what they might find.
After Moo and Spoof cleared out the aggressors, the two breached the door with excessive force. So excessive that the breached door was found stuck into the wall at the end of the corridor, having crushed four soldiers in its path. "Holy shit!" Spoof explained. "Yes," Moo replied. "I guess Hawk would say that this door is...smashing!" The two laughed momentarily but were surprised when a few soldiers rounded the corner at the end of the hall and began opening fire. "Damn!" Spoof yelled. "It's too bad we don't have another door to throw at them." Moo laughed, then shouted. "True, but I did bring this!" Moo pointed at the LAW on his back. "Be my guest!" Spoof yelled, spraying his machine gun down the corridor for suppression. Moo flipped out the weapon, readied, and fired. It seemed almost as if the moment he fired, the rocket was already at the end of the hall, or what used to be the end. "Let's move!" Moo yelled in a commanding tone. The two entered the building, beginning their search.
Hawk tried hard to move the twisted pieces of what used to be a helicopter, but he was struggling due to the fire and weight of the metal. Redneck however was throwing pieces to and fro, creating a whole separate pile of scrap on his own. They weren't finding anything. This angered Redneck, but gave Hawk hope. They searched while trying to keep watch, but they could not do both effectively. A voice broke their concentration . It was a Russian voice, one Hawk thought he heard yell "Over here!" As the two soldiers turned around, they faced ten armed Russian soldiers, who had apparently flanked them by some alternate route they had overlooked. "Hawk," Redneck asked calmly. "You sure we need all of our explosives?" Hawk eyed Redneck without moving. "What's you have in mind?" Hawk asked in his British tone. "Thermite, for the chopper wreckage," the big, angry man replied. Hawk laughed a little. He knew it was crazy, but it might work. "Alright," Hawk said coolly. "Let's do this."
Moo and Spoof moved from room to room, eliminating every hostile in sight. So far, they had found no HVT's, but they thought they were close to finding POW's. Each section was different from the last, and this one seemed familiar. Large empty rooms with fans and gas vents, rooms with tables and cutlery for human rending, and now cells. The men were pleased to have possible found something worthwhile. However, it seemed to the lock down controls for the cells were located in a central hub that each row was connected to. The hub was behind bullet proof glass and had at least five armed soldiers inside. Breaching was possible, but if the glass didn't give then the back blast could kill the two of them. The two stared down the hallway at the awaiting guards, whom had also spotted the two. Each group was plotting against the other. The two started to devise their plan.
"Wait!" Hawk signaled to Redneck. "Lancer." Redneck seemed puzzled by this response. "What about him?" Redneck asked. "Let's call it in," Hawk replied as if it was obvious. "Are you crazy? He could kill us if he misses!" Redneck exclaimed. "Well, we are probably dead either way. So let's show these bastards a good time." Hawk said with a smile. Hawk twitched to click his com, which was met by many angry Russian voices but luckily no gunfire. "Lancer..."Hawk waited. "Now!" Hawk and Redneck waited for a response, but there was nothing. The Russian soldiers were beginning to get restless with them, yelling and pointing their weapons. "Hurry up, Lancer!" Hawk shouted.
"Paper beats Rock!" Spoof said with a mocking tone. "I win. You go." Moo smirked in response. "Actually, grenade beats paper! You go!" Spoofs jaw dropped behind his balaclava. "Fine," he said in an irritated tone. "But next time, you are up no matter what." Spoof and Moo had been playing this game in plain sight of the now bewildered enemy troops. Spoof began to stroll towards the glass, as Moo crept behind the wall. Spoof reached the glass, where he began to rummage through his pack. He pulled out a detonator, a small brick of C-4, another brick of C-4, a detonator, and some duct tape. The troops behind the glass were frozen in place at the sight of this. Suddenly, they opened fire on the glass, bullets impacting on the glass hurriedly but to no effect. This made Spoof work even faster, but he maintained his creative spirit. He tape the C-4 a foot apart from each other, and put a crescent strip below it, each brick held by two crossed pieces of tape. From Spoof's eyes, it looked like a smiley face. To the enemy, a bad day at the office. Spoof jogged away from the glass, while he readied the detonator. He nodded to Moo, who nodded back. CLICK!
Hawk and Redneck stood in place, frozen more from the cold than from fear. "You know, he better hurry up," Redneck said with an agitated voice. "Or I may very well let these guys kill me from boredom." The two didn't have to wait any longer though. A whirring noise startled the enemies, but not nearly as much as the outer wall exploding in on them, knocking the two soldiers down as well. As the two recovered from rubble and smoke, a tank crunched into view. The mounted machine gun on top manned by Jolly, who waved excitedly as he sprayed the remaining enemies with rounds. "WHAT THE HELL TOOK YOU SO LONG!!!" Redneck yelled at them. "Sorry about that, Red," Lancer's voice crackled through. "Had to give these boys a lift." Hawk dusted off his gun and shook his head. "Next time, a simple response will do," Hawk said staring at the tank. "Now, we have a mission to do. Lancer, Leaky, and Jolly will patrol the grounds for hostiles and Cowboy. We will continue as planned. Move out!"
Moo and Spoof once again stared at the devastation they had created. "Did you know people could liquefy?" Spoof asked Moo in disbelief. "I guess he couldn't handle the pressure," Moo said with a chuckle. The two laughed their way into the hub, trying to make sense of what was left. "I hope we didn't kill EVERYONE," Spoof said in alarmed tone as he surveyed the damage. Moo fumbled with the control panel, or what was left of it. "I can only get one cell block open," he stated. "Let's hope there are only people there." The two moved into the now unlocked cell block, where it was very quiet. "Now!" an American voice yelled, just as two men from either side sprang out of their cells on the two soldiers.
Moo struck at the first man with the butt of his gun, but missed. The man ducked down, but threw his fist high, stunning Moo. Spoof managed to grapple with the other man, who was wearing what seemed to be prison clothes. As they locked up, Spoof caught a glimpse of a tattoo on the man's arm, AC DF. It was probably his number for the prison. This concentration left Spoof forgetful of the situation, and he quickly tossed over the man's back and disarmed. The man who stunned Moo was caught by surprise as Moo ducked down as well, then tackled him. As Moo wrestled with the man, he noticed his clothes. "Wait!" Moo yelled. "We are here to rescue you!" The man paused in his struggle, as if reluctant to hear another American voice. Moo had the man's arms in his grips and noticed an odd tattoo, P1L9R1M. It must be his prisoner number.
"So, let me get this straight," Spoof replied. "You guys are both Americans, from separate mercenary organizations, and you both were contracted to clean out this place? That's suicide! We have at least eight men, and A LOT of toys." The two tired, American prisoners laughed together. "Actually," the one tattooed P1L9R1M replied in a deep voice. "We weren't supposed to survive. It was a suicide mission, but the pay was huge if we pulled it off. He and I are the only ones left from our original groups." The one tattooed AC DF smiled and said, "At least we wouldn't have to split much of the pay if we survived!" Moo and Spoof stared at the suicidal men, then shook their heads with laughter. An explosion shook them to their senses, as well as a sudden transmission. "Rendezvous at the LZ," Hawk barked over the com. "Things are heating up out here. Finish your sweep and meet us outside." As soon as the transmission ended, the former prisoners got dressed, and followed the other two men out.
Outside, the area was indeed heating up. Reinforcements were beginning to emerge from the snow capped forest. Infantry, trucks, and...tanks. "Tanks!" Leaky exclaimed, pointing out their location to Lancer, who was maneuvering their tank in response. "We can take them," Lancer replied calmly. 'Just keep the rpg's off of me!" He relayed this over the com so all could be aware of the situation. Each soldier began to post up on whatever cover and high ground they could find. Leaky exited the tank and took a post up in a spider hole created by the earlier bombardment. "Alright, men," Hawk sparked over the com. "Since our bird is down, let's try and eliminate drivers without compromising the vehicles. Understood?" Each of the men clicked responded in unison, "Understood, sir!"
Each soldier sported a "T" on their shoulders. These men were "Talon," the weapons of birds or prey. These birds were hungry, and their prey was approaching. Each man ruffled their feathers and readied their beaks to strike. Fast, furious, and frightening, these soldiers would crush these reinforcements with lightning speed and deadly accuracy. "Talon!" Hawk yelled out. "Strike!" Each soldier swooped on the wall and struck their claws deep in the enemy, piercing their bodies with force and ferocity.
Lancer lurked behind the walls, trying to feel out his enemy. The outer wall ahead of him exploded, but the damage was nil to the heavily armored beast. However, he knew that the other soldiers wouldn't be so lucky. He punched the controls and busted out into the open, immediately targeting the first tank in sight. This one had fired it's shot at the wall, which gave Lancer the advantage. He fired a shell, rocking the tank but still advancing. The shell crushed the barrel of the opposing tank, practically taking it out of the fight. Lancer continued on, maneuvering as Jolly reloaded the chamber. The next tank lie in between them and the advancing forces, an uphill battle as well. Lancer decided to carve a vertical path through the group, and punch the other tank in the face as well. "Jolly!" Lancer shouted. "Get your happy ass up there and clear me a path!" Jolly's mask smiled happily as he climbed up to man the gun.
The hatch opened atop of the tank, with Jolly shuffling up to ready the machine gun. Bullets began to spray his way, but his reply soon silenced the sender. A few shots spanged toward him from a few snowmobiles. As he turned to execute them, the closest one was thrown from his snowmobile by a sniper round, as were the next three. Leaky, he thought to himself. Just as many fell, many replaced them. Jolly happily cleared a swath through the crowd of angry Russians, laughing all the way.
Leaky peered through his scope, covering the happy gunner as he plowed toward another target. Soon, Leaky started to receive fire. This, was sniper fire though. Leaky shifted into cover better, but did not run. He peered through the scope, searching for his target. Another shot, close than the last, whisked by. Still, he searched. Pay off! He spotted the other sniper, knelt by a tree, next to a tank. Leaky risked being fired upon by the tank, even if he got the sniper. This was the same tank Jolly was paving towards though. Provide overwatch until they destroy the tank, then kill the sniper. It was a crazy plan, but Leaky felt confident. Another shot whisked by, still Leaky braced. "Push, Jolly!" Leaky yelled over the com.
Any of the troops getting past Jolly were immediately cut down by his fellow mates on the wall. He was cutting through a sea of metal and snow, and leaving behind blood and fire. He laughed in a jolly manner, but was cut short by a bullet biting through his shoulder. He slumped hard but continued to spray the machine gun on his enemies.
Leaky saw the sniper shoot Jolly. Leaky knew it could have been avoided, and realized it could have been avoided. And so, he steadied his aim, found his target, and shot him...in the groin. Leaky smiled as he watched the bastard squirm, but Leaky frowned when he saw the tank begin to shift in his direction. Leaky watched through the scope as it halted its barrel pointing at him. An explosion rocked his vision, but he was not dead. Lancer had finally made it. He had blasted the enemy tank in the side of the barrel, exploding its own shell and destroying the mobile armor. "I got the sniper, Jolly," Leaky said only half excited. "I'm sorry it wasn't sooner." The com crackled in response, "Me too! The son of a bitch shot my canteen! Scared the hell out of me." Leaky gasped in relief and laughed heavily, then resumed his long range terror with a smile.
A tank shot startled everyone, especially Lancer whose tank was struck by it. The shot cleaved the treads and most of the wheels, crippling their mobility. Lancer frantically searched for the tank that shot him, then spotted it in disbelief. It was sitting outside of the western wall! "Tank on western wall!" Lancer yelled over the com as he positioned the turret to return fire. Lancer caught site of Jolly's mask for a moment and laughed. That damn smile never fails to lighten the mood. Lancer fired the shell, and missed.
Hawk watched as the wall closest to him tore away from where it stood, nearly knocking him over. Lancer had missed, and what's worse, the tank could see Hawk. "Balls!" Hawk muttered as he scrambled to get clear of the tank. He could hear the tank whirring as it began to climb into the inner portion of the wall. It was chasing him, and he had nothing to take it out with. The others began to see the armored menace squeak into view, which meant it could see them. "Moo!" Hawk yelled over the com. "Get that bloody thing the hell off of me!"
Moo peered back as he reloaded his SCAR, his eyes widening. Before he could reach for his LAW, P1L9R1M snatched it and leapt down towards it, running towards its hind. Moo laughed in amazement, especially because he had indeed made it behind the tank without it noticing. "Nimble fucker," Moo said with a smirk. P1L9R1M readied the weapon as he watched the tank's rear begin to move away. He thought to himself "ROCKET BE TRUE!" and fired. P1L9R1M's eyes immediately shot to Moo. "You forgot to reload it!?" he yelled angrily. The tank now gaining on Hawk even more. Suddenly, the tank was struck from above, stopping the vehicle in its tracks with and explosive thud.
All of the Talon soldiers stopped and stared, trying to make sense of what just happened. Moo looked at P1L9R1M and asked, "Ghost rocket?" Then, they all saw the culprit. A solider stood at the edge of one of the balcony's near the roof. It was Cowboy! "Hey!" he yelled, covered in ash and blood. "Did you know you missed some Javelins!?" All of the soldiers cheered for the return of their fellow soldier. Hawk shook his head at the sight of the soldier. "You sure gave us one hell of a scare," he said harshly. "But I'm bloody glad to see you!" Hawk saluted Cowboy, who in return nodded. "Let's finish this up and go home, boys!" Hawk echoed on everyone's radios.
The Talon soldiers began to move out from the walls, clearing out the remaining enemies, as well as securing Jolly and Lancer. "Well, the tank is screwed," Lancer said with a disappointed tone. "Hey, don't worry, man," Moo said with a laugh. "We all fire prematurely now and again!" Lancer laughed at the big man. The men left the ruined tank and began to scout for working vehicles as well as stragglers and supplies. They managed to recover one, half intact troop transport truck. As they began to load up, Cowboy stared out at the fortress. Hawk stood next to him, both surveying the battlefield. "Oh! I almost forgot!" Cowboy excitedly said. He fumbled through his pack and pulled out a detonator, then handed to Hawk. Hawk looked at Cowboy, confused. "It's a gift," Cowboy said with smile. "You didn't leave me, and I am grateful for that. However, I did leave them a gift." Hawk looked down at the detonator and smiled warmly.
AC DF walked up and snatched the detonator from Hawk's hands, eyeing him hard. "It's only right that a prisoner have the honor," AC said bluntly. "After all, we aren't getting paid for this seeing as you rescued us." Hawk eyed him back, but with light in his eyes. "If you join us," he stated. "Then pay wouldn't be a problem." AC smiled at the unfamiliar British mercenary leader. "Shake on it?" AC asked. Hawk and AC confirmed the agreement, with an explosion. They had shook on the detonator, the fortress now collapsing in on itself as high explosives ate it from the inside out. "I think you're going to fit in alright," Hawk said with a chuckle. "Saddle up! We are going home, men!"
The birds of prey gathered and migrated back to their nest, with new additions to the flock. The Talon mercenaries were once again the dominate hunters in a world full of prey, bait, and predators.