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No Russian
Legionnaires quickly secured the area west of The Fortress, finding cover behind service vehicles, concrete barriers, and even in the irrigation ditch that ran at the far west edge of the wide concrete lot. Bodies of the dead were quickly swept by Legionnaires too, and were quickly stripped of anything of obvious use.

Designated teams moved up to the heavily reinforced doors of the Fortress, and sappers moved to the front to inspect them. They could be breached, of course, but not without doing harm to anyone within. Since the Fortress was where the survivors they were there to rescue were supposedly holed up, explosive breaching simply wasn't an option. Luckily, they had other means at their disposal; plasma torches were called up, but before it came to that one intrepid sapper glanced at his compatriots with a grin, and boldly thumped a gloved fist against the unyielding steel. "Hello inside! Bonsoir! You lot will sleep sound tonight because we rough men stand ready to do violence on your behalf!"
The African man smirked at his compatriots again and eased back from the door; they formed stacks just off the wall adjacent to each door; should they open and the enemy be within, they would frag-and-clear. And if they were friendly, then whomever opened would be met with a hand to shake.

Elsewhere, on the tarmac, fifty Legionnaires manned mortars and support weapons, while teams searched abandoned aircraft that sat ready to taxi to the various terminal gates and bring their passengers to foreign ports-of-call. The enemy had been there already; there was no signs of violence commited, but it was obvious that at least some of those planes had once housed pilots and crews, likely now held under arms somewhere within the terminal. Or just as likely, lay slaughtered elsewhere. Neither thought sat well with the Legionnaires; partly because the planes would need those pilots, and partly for the fear they had arrived too late to save them.

With the flares lit along the dark runway, Jacques' jet wheeled sharply through the night sky and lined up. The plane landed hard and fast; it was an easy target on the approach to the runway, but his experienced pilots had little trouble putting it down onto the massive runway meant for far larger aircraft. The tires shuddered and the brakes screached as the plane slowed and taxi'd to the final flare, where it was guided off the runway and into the protective bubble of the emplaced crew-served weapons.

The stairs dropped, and Jacques' personal staff dismounted carrying an array of command-and-control equipment. Be the time Jacques had squared away his work space in the interior and darted down the ramp, holo-emitters and radios were set up to form his command post. All he lacked was tables.

He'd gotten changed in the hours waiting for his men to arrive, and now wore the same uniform and armour as his soldiers. Instead of a helmet, he favoured the white Kepi, and a pistol was strapped to his thigh, pouches of pistol mags in a load-bearing rig on his chest, and expensive Landwarriors, the latest military grade model, sat on his face, replacing the latest in civilian designer fashion that he had worn the last time he had seen violence in DV. The hat marked him apart from his men, but if the enemy had drawn close enough for that to be an issue, then there was little a helmet was likely to do for him anyway.

"Mortar crews. Reference grids marked. Lieutenant Purnama, forward those to the assault team. Sergent Potenza, do we have planes identified for the evac?"
The few officers and sergeants in the fire-base approached at a controlled jog as Jacques had dismounted, nodding and responding to his orders in quick order. "Excellent. Set fire to the ones I've marked. We're far too open out here, we need a smoke screen."

The burning planes would draw some unwanted attention, but at the same time it would make them difficult to see, with the flames and smoke between them and the enemy. And would deny their use to the rebels later. There was some unfortunate precedence of what these sorts of folks were willing to do with planes, although they tended to prefer ones with innocents aboard.

The sergeant saw to it that Legionnaires were put to the task of setting flame to some of the planes; fuel tanks were ruptured, the planes carefully chosen that the fuel would run outwards from the fire base, that the smoke would be pushed by the wind away from them rather then choking them out of their position. Everything was planned, and was going accordingly. Which worried Jacques to no end. No plan survived contact with the enemy, after all.

"Capitan Pék. The Vega?"

The senior officer on the ground shook his head; there had been no sign of anyone in the area since their arrival; all the combat seemed to be ongoing around the main terminal, and no one had wandered out to greet them yet.

So that's where the plan would begin to fall apart, was it?

GPS programs were pulled up, displaying static maps of the area with real-time IFF beacons indicating the location of his men. It was an outdated system; there was lag, and the positions were only accurate to within ten meters, but he had gotten surprisingly good at judging the distance error. The arrangement of his men was satisfying; that there was only 199 of them was less so. He was aware the moment he lost Soldat Desta Sizwe. South African. Had been with the Legion less then a year; this was his first major deployment since leaving the South African military for the Legion.

"Toubib Afolayan. Take a team, begin prepping one of these plans as your triage point.

The planes set to be burned were beginning to go up, bathing the fire base in light, but the flames also helped block them from view from afar, while thickening columns of smoke obscured them from the terminal and outlying buildings, and Jacques' men hustled to get things prepared. Mortars were prepped, the supply drops gathered and neatly stacked. Chair pulled from the plane Toubib Afolayan had been granted were used as simple cover for the mortar pits; they'd do little but obscure an enemy's view of the gun crews.
PPC: Captain Miko Istivak

Moments passed in a tense calm as Nicolas Trano headed off with his assistant and Knights to do whatever the hell it was he did. Miko didn't like the lull, the hairs on the back of his neck would soon rise if they were not shot at again in the next half-hour.

He didn't believe the terrorists would suddenly regain their senses and decide running down a hall with one hundred and fifty odd rifles ready to fire was a bad idea. Chances were, they would throw themselves at him and his men until they were worn down through sheer numbers.

And that was the better option. The other was that they were preparing something particularly savage. He was glad they did not seem to have access to state-of-the-art weaponry. Miko remembered all too well the last time he had been assigned to suppress a rebellion. It still gave him shivers, even after 15 years of active duty.

A small uprising had started in Budapest and had gained significant ground, taking out the city's commander in a grisly assassination. By the time he had arrived, the movement had gained over a thousand well armed fighters, supplied by a group of Custody big-wigs discontent with trade in the area or some bullshit like that. The poor bastards were used and discarded, all for the sake of money.

They fought well, but they could not resist the force of the Custody's finest for long and were driven underground. The higher-ups did not want to waste the time or money rooting out the malcontent faction nor allow the situation to gain publicity. So they sent in a Vega team who wiped the remaining insurgents out within a day. Armed with bio-chem grenades, they had only to sit and watch as the rebels dropped.

"Hello inside! Bonsoir! You lot will sleep sound tonight because we rough men stand ready to do violence on your behalf!"

The loud thud and subsequent words spoken in a cheery African accent brightened Captain Miko's mood.

He pushed his way through a line of men with drawn rifles pointed at the metal doors now glowing red-hot. "Stand down,"
he said, weariness creeping up his spine. "Stand down. Help has arrived."

When the Legionnaires had burned a hole through the metal framework, Captain Miko stood at the opening and called out. "Glad to see someone who's not trying to kill us in this damned city. My men are yours."
"She saw a flaring halo around his head, radiant in gold and blue. It shouted of glory and power to come"
"No matter how fast light travels, it finds the darkness has always got there first, and is waiting for it."
"That has to be the weirdest thing I've seen working this job, and I have seen a lot of weird shit."

Reed fixed him with an adorable look. You just wait, buddy. Then they got moving.

She was glad to leave the power-room turned furnace behind. Truth be told, it was about the weirdest thing she'd seen Trano do, too, and she kept looking at him while the group hurried down the tunnels.

A steel door led to a flight of stairs that would return them to the ground level. The Knights cleared passage ahead of her and Trano. She touched him on the arm. "There will be backup fuel cells."
Her expression was thoughtful. "They're unlikely to think of them, but many operate on automatic sensors. I won't risk operations on the chance they turn on in the middle of a firefight."

He looked back at her. He had been none too interested in leaving the safety of the Fortress in the first place. A delay in returning was probably low on his list of favorite things at the moment.

"Then let's go get rid of them. I'm not a fan of dying for nothing."
He considered for a moment. "Any idea where they'd be?"

The Knights turned half way up the staircase. She held the weight of the door open with the side of her foot, and flicked a daring gaze back at the nearest Knight. She lowered her voice to answer him.

"Yeah. I do."
She smirked, leaned in close and pecked a kiss on his cheek. Of course, in doing so, her palm on his chest shoved hard, and between the leverage from her foot and sheer upper body strength, he flailed clear of the door.

She spun and slammed the door shut. In a flash the loud rings of rounds on steel echoed painfully in her ears. True to her reflexes and aim, the door's mechanism jammed, and the electronics monitoring the lock flipped from green to red. Reed stared calmly at the panel for a moment. Trano was likely still recovering, but steel was a flimsy fence for a wizard. She needed to hurry or he would demand to come with her.

Reed checked the rifle and took off running.
CCD spy and all around badass
Sapper Tamrat flashed a white-toothed grin and waltzed through the hole opened in the door, none too concerned with the still glowing metal edges. Seven others followed him through, and they were joined by a middle-eastern man sporting the insignia of an officer, a Captain to be exact.

Tamrat stepped forwards and offered to shake hands with Captain Miko, grinning happily all the while. They were on time, although a glance past the man revealed desperately few people in need of rescuing. Less then 400, counting the soldiers?

Capitan Shihab Hakim stepped in. The man carried no rifle; his only weapon was a pistol strapped to his thigh, and a bushel of magazines about his person; the iconic officer, in that respect. He nodded grimly to Captain Miko, whom he assumed was the one in charge of the remaining CCD troops, "You have done well, Capitan, but it is time you and your men go home, yes?"

The situation in DV worried him greatly; conflicts of this scale, of this motivation, never ended well. He'd seen the flames in Mecca, and had felt sorrow like he had never felt before. The holiest sites in God's kingdom stood there, and his brothers had brought war to their doorstep.

There had been a group who once considered themselves warriors of the true Islam, of Allah. They had taken hundreds hostage in the Grand Mosque of Mecca in 1979. Hundreds had died, and blood had been spilled within the walls of the Grand Mosque, a sin for which they were sure to pay still. A sin now rolled ten-fold upon the shoulders of Muslims everywhere.

That conflict had seen aid by the Legion as well. Pakistani troops, trained and readied by the Legion to execute the rescue, where Saudi troops had been unable or unwilling.

He offered Miko a tablet on which was a tactical explanation of what was to follow. The assault group outside was already beginning to fan out, to secure the area between the Fortress and the fire base where Jacques waited. Phase one was nearly complete. "We have secured planes, but need pilots. It is hoped some have survived, and are with you now? There is space enough for your men as well."
Before Nicholas even realized what was happening, he was on his back on the other side of a locked door. Sheer surprised slammed the power away from him. The feeling left him stunned. Before he managed to get up on his own, one of the Knights hauled him to his feet. He thanked the man, then turned to the sergeant. "We need to go after her."
The more time they wasted, the farther she'd get. He had no doubts about her abilities, but she was running around in the middle of a war zone while they sat on their hands in a darkened staircase.

The sergeant just shook his head. "She isn't our mission, you are."
Reed would've said the same thing about him. The way he said it and the way he was standing implied that he'd have no qualms against dragging Nicholas back to the Fortress by his ears. He'd probably enjoy it, too - it's not every day you get to manhandle a wizard, and Nicholas suspected the sergeant doubted he'd actually fight back. Nicholas didn't know if he would - saving Reed was all well and good, but killing the man who arguably saved your life a few hours ago wasn't exactly good for karma.

So he figured he might as well try appealing to the man's better nature. "Remember what you said earlier about leaving people to those psychopaths?"
Granted, Reed was a bit different from--

"She's a trained killer, not a civvie,"
the sergeant replied gruffly. "She can take care of herself."
The other Knights remained quiet. It made Nicholas glad his stay in the military had been short - he much preferred democracy. That way you could whittle your opponent down brick by brick, instead of taking the whole wall at once.

"She ran off because the power is still working. We only took out the primary grid, not the backups."
They were really going to resent him for this one, but convincing wasn't working. Sometimes a vote didn't go in your favor, but you desperately needed to get your way. "I'm your mission, right? Well, I'm going after her. I'll probably get shot before I get anywhere near her. Unless you follow me, that is."

The prospect didn't seem to bother the sergeant overmuch. "Or I could just drag you back to the Captain with a nice big lump on your head before you get all of us killed."
It wasn't exactly an argument Nicholas was going to win. "We were sent to dismantle the main grid. That's what we did."
Nicholas couldn't just threaten them into compliance - and if he had to defend himself with the power it wouldn't do him any good. The fact was he needed these four men in order to get anywhere. So he did something that was a bit immoral. More than a bit.

Seizing the power - Nicholas was getting pretty good at doing that without changing facial expressions - he began constructing the oldest weave he knew. The strange thing about magic was that complexity didn't necessarily require skill. It was less of an exact science, more instinctive. He was controlling minds unconsciously before he'd been able to figure out how to let a person's arm free from bindings of air. Sending out glowing silvery wires of spirit, with a minuscule amount of each of the other four, he touched the sergeant's mind. It was like riding a bike. Now the sergeant just needed some 'convincing.'

Nicholas said, getting an involuntary jerk of the head in response. The sergeant was only now staring directly at him, behind that faceless helmet of his. He didn't think anybody else noticed, but he wouldn't forget just how literally the spell worked. "I told you, the reason she ran off was because the power grid isn't completely taken down yet."
It was working, he thought. "We need to go after her because if she fails, nothing we did down here matters. The lights will stay on, and the captain doesn't get the advantage he needs. You know I'm right."
He released the spell. God have mercy on his soul, but it was the right thing to do. It was a lot easier before he'd thought of the moral implications. The sergeant's pose implied thought, although that was more likely his mind trying to come to terms with what had just happened rather than any deep consideration. Nicholas had to prod him, though, before the others became suspicious. "Well?"

"You're right."
The sergeant admitted, rather grudgingly. He must have thought he came to that conclusion by himself. "We'll go after your woman. But I take the lead."
The other Knights, who had been making themselves comfortable and watching the battle from the sidelines, stood up straighter and got ready to move. "No more arguments, no more questions. You stay behind me and be ready to do that fire thing if I need it."
It wasn't a question - he expected obedience. If what he'd done wasn't so horrible, Nicholas would have laughed at the irony of being ordered around by the man who's mind he had just manipulated.

"You have a deal, sergeant. Now would you like me to open this door?"

Edited by Nick Trano, May 17 2014, 05:52 PM.
PPC: Captain Miko Istivak

It is time you and your men go home.

The words acted like a breath of fresh air to a drowning man. Every man and woman in his command lifted their heads with a renewed vigour. Unfortunately reality still hung over their heads as well in the form of a frantic mob.

He could not precisely blame them, two hundred civilians who had just witnessed a slaughter, many of whom were probably friends or even family. Still, when the rose from their dejected silence to swarm towards the Legionnaires and freedom he grimaced at the foolishness.

Raising the barrel of his rifle to the concrete roof he fired two precise shots that echoed through the chamber-like vault of the Fortress. He did not see all of their reactions, but the action was enough to make them stop in their tracks. "Please, I ask for your co-operation. The area is still dangerous, stay calm and wait for further instruction. We will make it out alive."

Miko doubted it would be much consolation for the poor bastards, but it was for their own good.

"We have secured planes, but need pilots. It is hoped some have survived, and are with you now? There is space enough for your men as well."

Miko had not considered the possibility, he had been so focused on the survival of as many as possible. Still, he was required to report every single entry and exit made at the airport under the Commander's strict lockdown. He had some idea, if not precise details.

"The Airport was closed to normal flights due to the impending arrival of the Ascendancy. Access was restricted to a few, pilots among them while they were grounded. I'm afraid I don't know if they are alive. We have managed to save two hundred civilians. I will have my soldiers ask."

It did not take long to sort through the shell-shocked civilians. Four men and two women were brought to him.

"These people here all have flight experience," Private Shair said briskly as he approached.

Miko repressed a wince. He was sure there would be more than half a dozen. How many had died?

He turned back to the Legionnaire, his face hard. "Your orders?"
"She saw a flaring halo around his head, radiant in gold and blue. It shouted of glory and power to come"
"No matter how fast light travels, it finds the darkness has always got there first, and is waiting for it."
Capitan Hakim was a bit more of an open book then Captain Miko. There was indeed a momentary flicker of emotion in the man's dark features; how would it have looked if they had managed to arrive sooner? An unrealistic thought, the sort that would likely haunt the man to his end. There was no chance to arrive sooner. It simply wasn't possible. But every hour had meant more lives lost.

The moment passed. Capitain Hakim waved some of his men forward. The pilots were given top priority and each were soon flanked by two heavily armoured Legionnaires.

The assault team outside were quick to work, and eight man sections quickly fanned out to find vehicles, while other teams were forced to begin moving along the outside of the terminal to find better positions. Firefights began to erupt as the extremist forces began to react to the presence of the Legionnaires.

The situation outside was beginning to heat up, but for the moment at least, the Legionnaire proved the more terrifying force on the field. Controlled fire, discipline, cohesion, and most importantly, communication, made the difference between the Legionnaires and those mobs of fighters that swarmed over the main terminal. They came forwards in waves as each group realized the Legionnaires were present, and fell in droves, but it wouldn't last long.

The Legionnaires had been lucky so far, that the enemy fighters had been focused almost entirely on the main terminal by the time they had arrived, meaning the way from there to the fire-base was mostly uncontested, at least for the moment.

Capitain Hakim listened a moment to the information provided him from the fire-base, then looked to Captain Miko, "Corridor secured. Your men will keep the survivors together and herd them to the fire-base, located here."
He indicated the cleared route of travel on his pad, "Are you aware of any other groups of survivors in the terminal?"
PPC: Captain Miko Istivak

Miko gave the Captain a sober grimace. "Maybe. We have been assaulted by the terrorists here. Hundreds of them. We would not have lasted more than a day at best. There were thousands attacking us when we retreated to the terminal. If anyone has survived, they can survive without us. Unless you have more men on the way, we do not have the strength to mount an offensive."

Edited by Michael Vellas, May 23 2014, 11:37 PM.
"She saw a flaring halo around his head, radiant in gold and blue. It shouted of glory and power to come"
"No matter how fast light travels, it finds the darkness has always got there first, and is waiting for it."
Luckily, Reed didn't need to break much of a sweat to successfully traverse the tunnels. Most of them were abandoned already, and anyone that might have alerted the rebels to their presence were likely following the main group back to surface level. It was a dangerous risk she was taking, leaving Trano in Knights' hands, but one that she knew, logically, to be necessary.

The rifle served her well to jam the group in the stairwell, but she had no need to fire since. The noise would echo, and anyone in four hundred meters were likely to hear it. She wished for the ax, that between blade and handle, she could heft, slice, and smash her way through barriers when necessary. It sat in the Fortress and did her little good down here.

Thus, she was pressed to the wall alongside the entrance to maintenance corridors. She'd disabled her flashlight already, leaving her hidden in pitch black. The lack of ventilation added weight to the air, and she rubbed a bead of sweat from where it dripped along her temple. She held her breath and listened. There was something... She edged forward, ever so slowly.

Her foot hit something soft. She flipped the beam of light on, and a red-eyed rat scuttled from the sudden glow. "Fucker,"
she said to herself and relaxed while it darted into the distant darkness.

She let herself into the maintenance room. All dark but for the alien glow of backup fuel cells ready for activation.

That glow was gone by the time she strolled out of there, sweating a little bit more, and the tip of a finger throbbing from slicing it on the steel casings. There was one more station to visit down here. Then to the roof she would go.


It took about thirty minutes to find the second station, disable the fuel cells, and climb safely to the roof. The under tunnels were easy enough to dart along, and she never came into contact with sight nor sound of rebel presence but for the distant pounding of feet. The groups making such noise were likely far; cement and steel warped echoes incomprehensible.

She had to climb through a baggage routing system, with their conveyor belts, cranes and carts to make her way to a facilities ladder leading to the roof. It was like crawling through a staggering steel highway; luggage waited likely to be forgotten for weeks while this shit blew over.

She was running along the steel grates of a catwalk when sparks suddenly flew around her feet. The sound of the gunfire registered a moment later.

She leaped onto the adjacent convoy across a two-foot spanned freefall. When she rolled back to her feet, the rifle was in her own hands and her flashlight turned off. The orbs of light surrounding those that fired first were a perfect sight, and she shot three white-clad men before they even knew where she'd went.

Satisfied that was her only delay. Them and the rat, she clicked on her light, and navigated her way through a series of wheeled metal carts, flinging them backward as she went.

None too soon, she was throwing open the hatch and crawling onto the roof.
CCD spy and all around badass
It didn't take long to bust down the door. Nevertheless, the Knights seemed to get a kick out of it. Nicholas gave the twisted frame leaning against the opposite wall a look. It was pretty damn cool. But they were in a hurry. No time for gawking, as the sergeant quickly made clear. "Let's move, Mr. Trano,"
he said as he shouldered past.

It turned out the same blueprints that had led them to the main power room had the backups marked. Nicholas wondered who managed not to notice them in the first place. That gave them a rough outline of where Reed would be headed. There were two stations in the basement - both down the line east from the main power room. Another was on the roof. The sergeant judged that Reed would head there last.

What followed was a tense, nerve wracking exploration of the basement. Every intersection was a potential death zone, after all. It took about forty five minutes to visit each of the backup power cells - both of which were thoroughly trashed by the time they were reached. A distinct lack of blood, bodies or bullet holes told a pretty good story about Reed's journey thus far.

Once the power cells were taken care of, they were faced with the problem of finding their way to the roof. Moving through the ground level would be dangerous. Luckily enough, there was a maintenance elevator right behind them. Nicholas helpfully pointed it out. "I think I can, er, levitate each of you to the top of that elevator shaft."
All heads turned to him, and he shrugged. "Might be safer than finding a staircase."

The sergeant cocked his head. "Ever do something like that before?"

Nicholas shook his head. "No. But I've been experimenting."

The sergeant considered for a moment. Which was reasonable - he was about to consent to being magically floated four stories in the air. Finally, he made the decision. "Good enough for me."
He nodded towards the elevator. "Get that door open."

It didn't take long. Nicholas hadn't let go of the source for a second. Well, aside from that time a rat ambushed him. He breathed it in more deeply, yanking the power into line. His senses sharpened noticeably with the increase in power, his mind having long since become used to the earlier edge. Misty yellow wires of air coiled around the doors and yanked them open, with only a small burst of sound from dead gears forced to turn against their will. That taken care of, Nicholas took the liberty of slicing a hole in the ceiling of the elevator. With a loud clang, their makeshift magic ladder was ready to go.

Nicholas rubbed his hands together, and turned back around. "So, which one of you is going first?"

"One at a time?"
The sergeant asked. Nicholas figured the reason was that a single man wouldn't be in a very safe place if there were bad guys up there.

Nicholas answered matter-of-factly. "Want me to risk dropping all four of you?"
He had only been experimenting.

"Guess not."
The sergeant nodded at one of his Knights - a shorter one who, upon examination, was a woman. Damn. If Nicholas screwed this up he'd be killing a girl.

"Alright. Step into the elevator, miss."
His voice was confident, but he was getting less sure by the minute. He'd never tried lifting somebody this high into the air. He had no idea if the power wouldn't just cut off at some arbitrary point. She obliged and walked inside with Nicholas on her heels. "It's going to feel kind of like what I'd imagine a parachute does - but the other way around. Good luck up there."

Thick wires of air - it wouldn't do to cut her - laced around her arms and legs into a rough approximation of a harness. She raised her rifle, ready to blast whatever she came up against at the top of the shaft. Nicholas was going to have to open the door once she got up there. He thought a silent prayer and then began.

To the eyes of anyone else, it would appear that she simply floated into the air. What was really happening, of course, was that Nicholas was slowly moving wires of air upwards and she just happened to be pulled along with them. About thirty nerve wracking seconds later, she reached the roof. Nicholas pulled the door open and deposited her in the hallway.

Judging by the lack of shooting, and the next Knight stepping into the elevator, the Knight upstairs didn't have any problems. The other three went pretty quickly. It wasn't until Nicholas tried to lift himself that he had problems. "Do any of you happen to have any rope?"
He called up the shaft, as quietly as physics would allow. "It seems I can't pick myself up."

What might have been an awkward situation instead only turned into an embarrassing one. A thin cord was dropped down, and Nicholas was soon pulled to the roof like a sack of potatoes. He had no doubts there would be bruising where the cord had pressed sharply into his skin. Once they were all together at the top of the elevator, Nicholas saw the cord coil back into one of the Knights' armor. Neat little feature,
he thought.

The sergeant pulled him aside. "Alright, Mr. Trano,"
he said gruffly, "If your woman isn't here, she's dead."
The rest of the thought was implied - Nicholas had needlessly put all their lives at risk, and he damn well better not try to make them search anywhere else.

Nicholas just nodded. "Let's hope she's here, then."
They were in a small hallway - an over sized storage closet, really - that only served to hold some maintenance tools and keep the elevator door from being exposed to the elements.

The sun had long set, and the roof was only lit by a few blinking red strobes. They could see their objective only a few dozen yards away, another boxy projection sticking out of the roof. The Knight Nicholas lifted first took the lead, and they all moved together. The Knights were the very image of stalking wolves - well, stalking human wolves. Nicholas was more like a Labrador retriever. The only sounds were the howl of night wind, sporadic gunfire and the low roar of a jet in the distance. As they got closer, Nicholas started to hear the muffled sound of talking from inside the room. He couldn't make out words, but it sounded like only one side of a conversation.

Finally reaching the door, three of the Knights stacked up while another kept his eyes on the rear. The point woman reached to open the door. The click from the handle cut through the otherwise meticulously maintained silence like a knife. Then, the door slammed outwards, knocking her to the ground.

From where Nicholas was, he couldn't see inside the room. But he recognized the arm holding a gun in the face of another Knight. Luckily for all involved, the third held his fire. With threads of air, Nicholas ripped Reed's gun out of her hands - he didn't want to risk her thinking she was about to be offed by a team of Custody special forces, like Al-Hasan was. Just to make damn sure, he shouted, "Reed, it's us!"

Nicholas stepped into her view just in time to see her staring incredulously at the Knights around her. The one that had gotten knocked to the ground seemed to be laughing. Then she noticed him. "What the hell, Trano? That was a steel door!"

Nicholas could only smile. "You should see how we got up here."
Then he winced and rolled one of his shoulders. He'd leave out the part where they pulled him up by a rope.

She shot a look toward the runway. "Since you're here, unfurl that magic carpet--" the last bit of what she had been saying was drowned out as a private jet landed on the runway. The Knights' body language said they were relieved when it landed.

Nicholas didn't need to remain curious for long. "It's the Legion Premiere's CEO,"
the sergeant said. "They're going to help us out of this death trap."

The night quieted back down for a few moments as the plane rolled to a halt, only to be broken again with laughter. "The CCD hired mercenaries!" All heads turned to Reed, who was practically doubled over.

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