Fallout, Part I

Posted: April 3, 2011 in Gamma Team

Fukushima, Japan 04Apr 2011 1128 Local Time

“Brigade, give me a sit rep,” Hannibal said into the comlink. Hannibal was in flight over Fukushima, Japan. Below, he could see the crippled nuclear power plant that had been torn apart by an earthquake of magnitude nine on the Richter scale just a few weeks ago. Smoke poured from the reactors almost a month after the initial breach.

“This place is deserted,” Brigade responded. His voice crackled with interference. Hannibal hoped it had to do with interference from being deep in the facility and not the effects of radiation. The radiation was well above what a human could withstand for any length of time, but even Metahumans needed their communications to work.

When Brigade spoke again, it was too garbled for Hannibal to make out. At least Brigade sounded calm. Of course, Brigade always sounded calm. The guy’s not afraid of anything.

“Mindgame,” Hannibal said. “I’m having trouble contacting Brigade. Let’s switch to a mindlink.”

“Roger that,” Mindgame replied. He gave no hint if he dreaded initiating the link. Hannibal knew linking a team’s mind for instantaneous communication was exhausting and difficult for any Psyker. Mindgame did it well, “but it always gave him a serious headache and he might be incapacitated for awhile.

A moment later, however, Hannibal felt the presence of his whole team in his head. It was comforting to feel them this way. He could instantly communicate, but he could also ascertain their location and their status. Mindgame filtered out all the irrelevant stuff, which was a big part of what made the mindlink such a tough trick.

“Brigade,” Hannibal said, “We switched to a mindlink. You’re communications are fubar.”

“Probably because I’m inside a burning nuclear reactor,” Brigade said. “My little radiation badge turned black  a long time ago. I hope Dr. Canada is right and that we can withstand this shit. I ain’t afraid to die, but I don’t want to be deformed or anything. And my dick better not fall off.”

“Your dick will be fine, Brigade,” Serenity said through the link.

“Oh yeah?” Brigade asked. “You want to help me test it honey?”

“Stow that shit, Brigade,” Hannibal said. “What’s happening in there?”

“Well, as you know, water is pouring out into the ocean,” Brigade said. “Scanner says that the water is radioactive as hell. The fires are about controlled by the automated fire systems, but these reactors are a total loss. The nuclear material is exposed and pouring our radiation. We have some serious work to contain this.”

“Well, the humans can’t get near it, even in protective gear,” Hannibal said. “Neither can most of the team. Detector is mapping out areas where the radiation is the worst. He’s more sensitive than any scanner. I’m directly above you. It looks pretty bad from up here. The rest of the team in on the ground evacuating people where Detector says they can’t be. Looks like me and Hunter are the only ones who can come help.”

“Your armor has radiation seals,” Serenity said. “Make sure and activate them. It won’t protect you from all of the rads, but it will help. What gets through should be handled easily by your healing factors. The rest of us won’t heal fast enough to get that kind of load.”

“Allright,” Hannibal said. “I’ll pick up Hunter. Our first priority will be to seal up those leaks. We want to protect the ocean. We might get that done in the next couple of days. After that, we need to rebuild four cooling towers. Then we can try and clean up the area around Fukushima.”

“I’m feeling pretty useless here, boss,” said Radiance. “Not much need of a blaster. I can’t even get close enough to help with the welding.”

“Just look pretty for the camera, Rai,” Hannibal said. “Help with the evacs while Serenity tries to figure out how to remove radiation from the sea and soil around Fukushima.”

“Great,” Radiance said. “I’m a glorified EMT on this mission.”

“Maybe someone will get surly and you can blast ‘em,” Brigade offered.

“Maybe I’ll start with your ass, Brigade,” Radiance replied.

“Ooh, you promise?” Brigade said. “Can’t wait!”

“Pig,” Radiance said.

Unique Capabilities, Part I

Posted: April 2, 2011 in Alpha Team, Libya

Brega, Libya, 01April2011, 0915 local time

                Kid Mystery stared out the window of the military truck as he and the rest of the Sanction team members rumbled into Brega. The forces there were loyal to Gaddafi and Kid Mystery suspected that there was more of a fight coming their way. He instinctively peered skyward through his aviator sunglasses as he heard the far off roar of a jet fighter.

                Allied fighters, Kid Mystery thought. Might be ironic if they sent a missile of our tailpipe. Of course no one would ever know since we aren’t even officially here. If the American People, and Congress, found out Sanction was on the ground here…after the way Kinsman messed up in Egypt…it would be a media shit storm.

                Fortunately, the fighter flew over without attacking. Mr. Incognito had assured the team he was in communication with Allied command via his telepathy, but who knew if that was true or if Mr. Incognito was nuts. It’s hard to trust the esper, Kid Mystery thought.

                Ahead, at the first main intersection in Brega there was a checkpoint. Admiral leaned up into the cab of the truck from the cargo compartment where the rest of the team rode. Kid Mystery turned to look at them. They all looked like characters from a video game.

                We look like something between Gears of War and Halo.

                “Looks like we better get ready to dance,” Admiral said. “Firebrand, stop about a hundred yards short of the checkpoint.”

                “That should get their attention,” Firebrand said.

                “I hope so,” Admiral replied.

                “So anyone wonder why we are here?” Whitewing asked. Kid Mystery turned to look at the team flyer. To say she was a hottie was an understatement. She was jaw dropping, mind numbingly stunning. Long black hair and a perfect body all with angel wings. Like a Victoria’s Secret commercial. She even managed to make her BDUs (Battle Dress Uniform) look shapely. Of course the armor she wore was tailored to fit her voluptuous form.

                “We don’t wander why,” Doctor Xeo said. “We do our jobs.”

                “Well maybe we should wander a little bit,” Whitewing snapped. “We’re not just soldiers. We are spokespeople. Representatives! Public figures! We should hold our government to a higher standard!”

                “You do that,” Admiral said as he turned to stare at Whitewing, “And you’ll find yourself incarcerated in The Boneyard before you know it.”

                “Locked up for expressing an opinion?” Whitewing asked.

                “Look,” Admiral said. “You are right. You’re not a soldier. You’re a weapon and you belong to the government. We all do. We may not like it. Hell, I might do things differently if I could, but I can’t. So in the meantime, I follow orders as best as I can.”

                “We shouldn’t be here,” Whitewing said. “None of us should. We aren’t international police.”

                “So we just let him slaughter people by the thousands?” Asked Lady Dragon. “The world should stop people like him.”

                “Then why aren’t we in Bahrain? North Korea? A hundred other shitholes where people are abused?”

                “Because today, our orders are to be in Libya,” Admiral said. “And that’s all we need to know.”

Firebrand brought the truck to a halt and popped the keys out of the ignition. The engine died and the silence seemed to stretch on forever.

                “Showtime,” Admiral said as he leapt out the back of the truck.

Unique Capabilities, Part I

Posted: April 1, 2011 in Alpha Team, Libya

Brega, Libya, 01April2011, 0800 local time

                Kid Mystery glided forward in the sands around Brega. He moved among short scrub bushes and fruit trees. It was already warm even though it was early morning. Ahead of him, he saw a group of men on the side of the road beside a battered military style truck. These men had on a semblance of the beige uniform that marked them as Libyan regulars. Gaddafi’s men.

                Kid Mystery moved out on the road to mask the sounds of his footsteps. He will the light t bend around him and he knew that the men would not see him. He spoke softly, knowing his throat mic would relay his words perfect to the rest of Alpha Team.

                “Four hostiles,” Kid Mystery said.

                “Have you engaged?” asked Admiral, his voice strong, precise and clear.

                “Negative,” Kid Mystery replied.

                “Eliminate the targets,” Admiral commanded. “We will rendezvous at the vehicle.”

                “Affirmative,” Kid Mystery replied.

                As he approached, he reached to his side and calmly pulled his 9mm. He slipped a silencer onto the barrel.

                Not very heroic of me, Kid Mystery thought. When I graduated Yates last year, I thought Sanction would be stopping floods, saving people from fires and that sort of thing. Now Beta Gamma Team is on the humanitarian mission in Japan while we are trying to help a bunch of rebels topple Muammar Gaddafi!

                Kid Mystery took a deep breath as he neared the four Libyan soldiers. The words of Secretary of Defense Robert Gates rang loudly in Kid Mystery’s ears. “There will be no American soldiers with boots on the ground.”

                Well, Kid Mystery thought. He wasn’t lying. Sanction is not comprised of soldiers. We are metahumans. We are weapons of mass destruction. U.N. Resolution 1973 called for coalition forces to attack Libya and the same resolution called for the United States to provide “Unique Capabilities”. I guess this qualifies.

                Kid Mystery pulled the trigger twice. Two soldiers toppled with hardly a sound. The third soldier turned in shock to see his companions sprawled on the hot Libyan highway. Before he could utter a word, Kid Mystery shot him through the forehead. The fourth soldier, acting more quickly, took cover behind the truck. He scanned the horizon, looking desperately for the sniper that eliminated his team.

                Kid Mystery walked over to the soldier who only heard Kid Mystery’s boots at the last moment, and then it was far too late.

                “The United Nations sends their regards,” Kid Mystery said aloud as he shot the soldier in the back of the head.

                “Hostiles eliminated,” Kid Mystery said into his throat mike. “Proceed with rendezvous.”

CNN Headline News Feb 15th 2011

Four American boaters are alive today thank to the timely intervention of the United States Navy SEALs and Sanction’s Gamma Team Leader, Hannibal.

Bob and Carol Potts and their friends Gary and Sheila Skyler were 6 months into a circumnavigation of the globe on their luxury yacht, The Emerald Princess when they were taken by Somalian Pirates just four days ago. The Potts and the Skylers knew they were close to the infamous Pirate Coast, but they had thought they were within the protection of the United States Naval forces operating in the area.

“They hit in the middle of the night,” said Bob Potts onboard the U.S.S. Enterprise a few hours after their rescue. “We heard their motors approaching, but it was dark and by the time we knew what was happening, they were piling onto the boat with AK-47s and pistols. We didn’t have a chance to fight or run or anything.”

The U.S.S. Enterprise learned of the pirate attack on the Potts’s boat shortly after it occurred and gave chase. The pirates were taking the yacht and their passengers to their stronghold in Somalia where it is reputed they hold as many as 50 captives awaiting ransom. One British couple was released after 355 days of captivity, reportedly for a 1 million dollar ransom.

In the pre-dawn hours, the pirates realized the Navy SEALs were following them in small boats and they decided to execute the captives. Fortunately, Sanction was on an operation in the area to liberate a Greek oil supertanker. Mindgame, Gamma team’s telepath “heard” the captives mental anguish and relayed the information to Admiral McKnight, the admiral in charge of the multinational task force against piracy. McKnight told Hannibal about the captives. Hannibal left Hunter in charge  of the Greek supertanker liberation and flew to the rescue of the captives.

“He arrived just as they tried to shoot Bob,” Carol Potts told CNN. “Hannibal took the bullets himself and then killed the pirate with his bare hands. The rest of the pirates attacked him and it looked like the bullets might even have begun to hurt him, but then the SEALs appeared and fought the pirates. One SEAL killed a pirate with a knife he threw from, like, thirty feet away. It was the most frightened I have ever been, but it made me realize that between Sanction and the Navy SEALs, America can fight back against these people.”

                Hannibal had this to say, “I’m just glad I was in the area and could get to the Potts and Skylers in time. There are a lot of other victims of piracy that we aren’t able to help. I just wish I could rescue them all.”

Maybe someday Hannibal will get his wish.

Leona Gettis

Staff Writer

Somewhere above the Indian Ocean, 2144 local time, 14Feb2011

                Hannibal looked around him at the bodies of the Somalian pirates that littered the stateroom of the Greek Oil Tanker. Hunter kneeled on the last remaining pirate, one of his curved blades at the pirate’s throat. The blade dripped the blood of the pirate’s companions.

                Hunter spoke to the pirate, in an African tongue. Hannibal didn’t recognize the language and he was surprised Hunter spoke it at all. Hunter had never stricken Hannibal as the scholarly type. When Hunter spoke to the pirate, he spoke in a low voice. It sounded threatening to Hannibal and he didn’t even know the language. The pirate looked positively panicked. He answered in the same language in a rapid fire burst.

                Hunter looked up at Hannibal, “This is all of the captives.”

                “Roger,” Hannibal said. He spoke into his throat mike and let the task force know that the mission was  a success. He reported that all captives were alive and that the pirates had suffered multiple casualties. No friendly casualties.

                He listened to the response and his heart thudded in his chest.

                “Hunter,” Hannibal said. “Take command. Get the Greek crew free and escort them back to the battle group.”

                Hannibal raced for the door.

                “Where are you going?” Hunter called after him.

                “Another group of pirates has taken four American citizens captive just a few miles from here,” Hannibal said. “I’m going to save the fucking day.”

The Pirate Coast Part VI

Posted: February 28, 2011 in Gamma Team, Somalian Pirates

Somewhere above the Indian Ocean, 2140 local time, 14Feb2011

Gamma Team hit the deck of the ship and fanned out. Each smoothly drew their weapons as they did. They carried standard issue handguns, but had also been issued small submachine guns for this mission. Even Metahumans liked to have protection.

Hannibal sent a thought across the mindlink they shared, “Let’s keep it quiet until we free the hostages. We don’t want a bloodbath on our hands.” He was grateful that Mindgame’s power allowed them to maintain strict radio silence on missions such as this.

As Sanction fanned out across the deck, the pirates seems to be remarkably well dispersed. They approached the first guard. Mindgame held up his hands stop the team. Sanction crouched as Mindgame moved forward. He stretched out with his mind. The entire team was aware what he was doing since he had them all linked by a mindlink. They watched as the first guard stopped pacing. Slung his weapon over his shoulder and then calmly leapt over the rail of the ship to his death. There was a barely-audible splash in the water far below them. Mindgame stood and moved on. The rest of the team followed.

“Damn, that’s creepy,” Detector “said” over the mindlink. “What’s to keep him from doing that to one of us?”

“I’m on your team, dumbass,” Mindgame sent back. “Besides, you are all trained to resist mental domination. It would be a bit harder on metahumans. Especially you guys. A little bit harder anyway.”

“Very comforting,” Detector sent back.

“Watch this,” Mindgame sent. “Two at once.”

“Negative, Mindgame!” Hannibal thought furiously over the mindlink. “Your protocol says one only!”

It was too late. Two of the pirates turned and ran for the rail. One leapt over as smoothly as they last, but the second pirate hesitated. He grabbed the rail and held on for dear life. He was fighting!

“Help!” he screamed and his cry wa answered from across the deck.

“It’s on!” bellowed Brigade. He leapt up and charged forward. “Radiance! Some light!”

Radiance leapt up and followed. As soon as she saw the silhouette of pirates, she threw her hands wide and light emanated from her hands. It was like a hundred strobe lights. The pirates screamed and grabbed their eyes. Brigade grabbed one in each hand and hurled them as far as he could. They rocketed of the ship as if thrown from a catapult.

Mindgame raced forward beside Brigade and opened fire with his machinegun, spraying into pirates as they charged Brigade’s position. As he did, Hannibal felt the mindlink slip. The stress of combat had proven too much for Mindgame to maintain the link.

“Serenity!” Hannibal bellowed, breaking radio silence. “Give them fire support! Detector! Find the hostages!”

Serenity raced forward, drawing two pistols as she did. She ran to the opposite side of the ship’s deck, taking advantage of cover as she did. When pirates confronted Brigade, they found themselves flanked from the side by Serenity where she laid down withering fire with her pistols.

“Got ‘em!” Detector said. “A few levels down!”

“Show me!” Hannibal said. “Hunter, you’re with me!”

Hunter nodded and drew two wickedly curved blades. “Let’s hunt,” he said.

Detector raced off towards the doors that would lead them below decks. In the middle of the ship, Brigade was taking machinegun fire. Hannibal looked up to see the bullets careening off of the team tank. Brigade grunted with the impact and even bled in a few places, but Hannibal knew they were like bee stings to Brigade and he loved intimidating the enemy with his near invulnerability.

Detector, Hannibal and Hunter reached the door. Hannibal kicked it off of it’s hinges. It crashed into the corridor beyond, crushing two pirates as it did. He could hear shouting from below them. Some of the shouting was in African. Some was in Greek.

“We don’t have much time,” Hannibal said grimly.

The Pirate Coast, Part V

Posted: February 24, 2011 in Gamma Team, Somalian Pirates

Somewhere above the Indian Ocean, 2140 local time, 14Feb2011

The light beside the helicopter door turned green. Hannibal stood and pulled open the door to admit the raging cold wind from outside.

“Go!” he bellowed.

Without hesitation, Hunter, Brigade, Detector, Radiance and Serenity leapt out the door one by one. Mindgame came last. As he leapt, Hannibal followed. When he hit the cold air outside, he flexed the aviatrix and felt it easily overcome Earth’s gravity. He seized control of his flight and angled downwards after Mindgame. Hannibal soared downwards and clamped his arms under Mindgame’s shoulders. As he did, Mindgame reached out with his mind for the falling figures below.

As Hannibal watched, the rest of Gamma Team’s fall was arrested by Mindgame’s telekinetic grab.

“Have you got them?” Hannibal said into his helmet communicator.

“Got ‘em,” Mindgame replied. “We’d better get to the boat though. My Teke is not as powerful as some. A thousand pounds of falling metahumans is about my limit.”

“Roger that,” Hannibal said. He began his descent towards the dark ocean below. As he did, Mindgame lowered Gamma Team accordingly.

“I need Nightvision, Game,” Hannibal said.

“Roger,” Mindgame said. “Detector, prepare for link.”

“Ready,” Detector replied. Hannibal thought he detected trepidation in Detector’s voice. Detector was one of Sanction’s newest members and the mindlink was disconcerting even to the team’s veterans.

Hannibal felt Mindgame reach out to his mind. Mindgame’s strength was his telepathy. His telekinesis was mainly a side effect. Hannibal felt his mind link with Mindgame’s. It was sort of like being on a conference call. Mindgame was very good at shielding his thoughts so there was not much noise. Hannibal felt sure his own thoughts were broadcasting loudly. He was trained in shielding his thoughts, but the more one tried not to think about something, the more difficult it became to keep their thoughts “quiet”.

While Hannibal struggled to clamp down his thoughts and keep the mindlink “quiet”, he felt Mindgame reach out to Detector. A moment later, Hannibal and Mindgame’s collective mindlink was joined by Detector. Now Mindgame could relay what Detector saw directly to Hannibal.

Hannibal’s vision suddenly shifted to a new spectrum. Detector had amazing powers of hearing, smell, sonar, vision, etc. Currently, he was viewing the ocean below with his Nightvision. Now, thanks to the mindlink, Hannibal was as well.

Hannibal now saw the Greek supertanker very clearly as it crashed through the waves far below Sanction. It had lights along its length and it looked like an oasis in the dark expanse of the ocean. The ship looked comforting and inviting amongst all f the surrounding darkness. Hannibal knew the safety was just an illusion. The ship was crawling the pirates. He could even see them as blobs of heat thanks to Detector’s infrared vision. The ship was anything but a haven. More like a death trap.

“Allright, Sanction,” Hannibal said over the comm. Channel. “We’re going in.”