Avaricious: Mission Pavour (Page 1)

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        “Reporting in Captain; I’m here with the Lieutenant, we’re about twenty minutes from base. No signs of activity. As usual.” 

        “Good. Continue your current route, and a squad will intercept you. I need to have words with this Lieutenant Nielson as soon as possible. And Corporal? Fix your attitude or I’ll personally come down there and sort it out myself. Out.” came the stern-voiced reply over the radio, the signal crackling in-and-out as a sign of the age of the equipment the two were using. He hung up before the trooper known as Corporal Hews could reply. 

        “Oh yes sir, no sir, three bags full sir (!) I hate that bastard.” Hews muttered. 

        He frowned and rubbed his head, the weather was getting colder this time of year, yet his heavy armour was making him sweat uncomfortably, not to mention he found himself on some BS job walking four miles just to escorting some no name Lieutenant another four miles back to the high command, so by the time he met up with said Lieutenant he was already tired and in a terrible mood. In fact the only thing stopping him from descending into complete madness was the fact that Lieutenant Nielson turned out to be female, and not to mention a tasty little number if he did say so himself. 

        Ever since the DAF (Diato Armed Forces) had taken control of the city of Lashine a year ago– in a relatively small and unexciting battle against the previous gang of thugs and raiders who held it – nothing remotely interesting had happened. Though Lashine was by no means a glorious prize, it was well behind the DAF lines now, safe from the turmoil where the rest of the DAF attempted to expand and seize control, a sense of relaxed calmness could be sensed almost instantly upon arrival. Unfortunately for the DAF, having soldiers sit on the side-lines for extremely lengthy periods of time not only affected morale, but most had become fat, lazy, unscrupulous, or a combination of the three. The streets, like most of the war-torn cities nowadays, were covered in a fine sheet of dust – the decay of the buildings left you wondering which one was going to collapse next. 

        Worse still was the dark clouds that seem to be forever gathering overhead; sure signs that a huge storm was on the horizon, but it never seemed to arrive – the chill from the wind slowly getting stronger as the day went on. Apparently, they were attempting to turn the city into a stronghold, but that meant lots of building and no action, no battles, no glory; the whole reason Corporal Hews had joined up in the first place. At least now, after a long year of nothing, something was happening. 

        Command had picked up a new transfer, Lieutenant Nielson, and Hews had been ordered to escort her back to headquarters, mainly due to the fact that trying to rebuild and fortify an entire city had left the DAF short-handed and he was the only one who could be spared at short notice. Mind you, he wasn’t complaining too much – it would be nice to see a new face, Hews was growing sick of seeing the same people day in and day out. Now there were, of course, women in the DAF ranks, but Hews could tell there was something different about this one as soon as he laid eyes on her. Despite the bulky plates of the DAF standard issue armour set, he could tell she had quite the figure on her – and he knew very well that soldiers of rank were able to get their hands on things not available to the regular grunts, including better equipment, “prohibited items”, real drinks and actual meals to eat – rather than the grizzly rations they were served – meaning that having one on your side made life much easier within the DAF. So he planned to make sure that this new girl knew that he was available, as collaring her would make his own existence so much easier.

        However for some reason, she was proving a tough egg to crack. Despite how amazing Hews was making himself out to be, she was being extremely unresponsive, and it was getting him quite ticked off. The two had been walking together for a little over an hour now in the chilly city – the dust from the streets was so thick that what little sunlight there was unable to get through and warm them – so he tried to make light with some jokes, but she barely reacted, in fact she was barely talking to him at all. 

        “Well, at least we’re alone again.” Hews smirked at her now that he had finished talking to his captain. “Come on, what’dya say? Nothing ever happens around here – let’s take a little break, you and me…” 

        “I’d really rather press on. You know, places to go, people to see.” She replied with a honeyed voice. 

        Despite the helmet covering her face almost entirely, Hews could tell that she was obviously attracted to him, even if she couldn’t admit it, so continued to press his luck. “Hey come on baby, we’ll have a tonne of fun, besides you’ve got all the time in the world today.” 

        “I really don’t. Tight schedule, don’t you know.” 

        “I’ll bet that isn’t the only thing tight about you. Come on, let’s get to know each other.” He continued, putting his weapon to one side to take the chance to wrap an arm around her. 

        “Hmm, how utterly charming.” She half-smiled at him, placing her hands on both his cheeks. “I guess you’re not used to taking no for an answer.” 

        “Ha, I knew… wait…what the!?” 

        Something about her suddenly changed, like Hews could feel the air coming off of her getting tense, darker. While he couldn’t see her eyes through the helmet’s visor, there was a sudden feeling of dread running up the back of his spine as her body tensed – as if a snake he was tormenting had suddenly snapped back. All of a sudden, she pushed him backward, quickly grabbing him by the collar and pulling him forward again before he could fall to the ground – quick enough to result in Hews’ head lurching forward. It was met by her own head: an incredibly painful head-butt. The way she had set it up had stopped him from being able to tense up in any way to defend or lessen the damage, leaving Hews with an instant broken nose and probably a crack in his skull. She followed up the pain by cupping her hands and slamming them down over his ears – enough force implied to cause his eardrums to rupture. Dazed, blood pouring from his ears and nose, Hews dropped to his knees. 

        “Gah! Gu-Guh!” Was all Hews could manage to mewl between cries of anguish. 

        “You should’ve learned to respect women, buddy.” She said, as she picked up his weapon. “No means No.” 

        The blood still left in his head quickly drained from Hews’ face as he heard her sweet toned voice stopped, and a smile spread across her face. A shot later, the world didn’t have to worry about Corporal Hews stealing oxygen anymore. 

       

        “What the hell are you doing!?!” Came the voice through her hidden headset. 

        This was not part of the standard DAF uniform, and this wasn’t the voice of some by-the-books captain on an obsolete radio she had been forced to listen to for the past few hours, but a young man’s voice coming in as clear as crystal. This new voice belonged to sixteen-year-old, Samuel “Sparky” Ryan, and to say he was a little miffed was an understatement. 

        “Oh, come on Sparky; the man was hitting on me for an hour straight! No breaks, just constant ‘let’s go baby, let’s do it behind the bins baby, you’ll love it baby’! I almost sucked his dick just to get him to shut the fuck up.” Rio replied, taking off the bulky and rather uncomfortable helmet, and thus allowing her red hair to swing freely once again. “Besides, who exactly is going to miss him?” she added under her breath. 

        “I don’t know – maybe the communications Captain will miss him when Hews doesn’t phone in (?) He seemed pretty interested in your whereabouts.” Was the unexpected rely, as she hadn’t thought he had heard her. 

        “You’re worrying again. I’ve done everything according to plan up to here, so just you relax already! By the time that Captain realises anything’s wrong, I’ll be either be long gone or putting a bullet in his head. Easy peasy.” 

        “Rio, you had a perfect alibi: you could’ve just walked right in and out of their base, taken the target out and mission completed! No-one would’ve been the wiser! They even gave you a guide to the exact place you needed to go! But, no, you decided to go off-track and shoot him in the head!” he replied, unable to hide the frustration he was feeling. 

        “I broke his jaw first. Did you see that?” 

        “… I saw.” 

        Rio laughed, she could almost hear Sparky frowning. 

        “Okay fine – we’ve ditched the escort a bit earlier than planned – we can still sneak into the base using your credentials and...” Sparky continued but she quickly interrupted him. 

        “Nah. Change of plan.” 

        “What, you don’t feel like sneaking in there undetected? You know, the best possible way?” 

        “True, it’s the best way, but if I sneak in, then how will people know that I did it? I don’t want to make a mess, I have to! There’s no fame in anonymity, my friend.” 

        “What?!” Sparky sighed, rubbing his face as he watched his monitors. “Do you realise exactly how long it took me to create the credentials, to break into their system, insert and replace an existing identity with yours so you could even get into DAF-controlled lands?” Referring to the work it had taken to get her near enough to Lashine city without raising suspicion from the inhabitants. 

        “Well, judging by your dope skills, I would guess: ten minutes?” 

        “Four days Rio! It took four whole days and several favours called in!” 

        “Aw, you know I love you for it!” Was her playful reply. 

        “Who says ‘dope’ anymore!?” He asked, realising what she said. 

        “What? I’m down with the kids, yo. Don’t hate the player, hate the game.” She said, deliberately trying to piss her companion off, a wide grin appearing on her face as she heard him groan with frustration. 

        “Just… just get going before someone finds you.” He could only say. 

        Rio and Sparky were Mercenaries, guns for hire, hitmen – whatever you wanted to call them, if there was a problem that needed to be taken care of, Rio was called in. This involved killing, killing specific targets, disruption, robbery, intelligence gathering, general espionage, and she would even throw in the killing of any sum’bitch stupid enough to get in her way for free! She brought the ability and will to carry out their missions, whereas Sparky served as her information centre, a buddy that aided and helped her get to where she needed to go from the safety of his bedroom – though being the one in the wheelchair he couldn’t exactly follow her into the field. 

        As expected with her life full of elements of spying and espionage; they had been tasked with going after a target who happened to be deep within the DAF lines, and it wasn’t like one could just stroll into an occupied land without some questions being raised, so Sparky was forced to create a fake identity to disguise Rio as a Lieutenant on transfer. From here, she travelled through the various lines and encampments, until she reached the borders of Lashine, where upon reaching the city borders was stopped while her identity could be confirmed. Naturally, Sparky’s credentials were spot on – both of them excelling in their halves of the partnership. But despite the fact she was seven years older than he was (Rio being twenty-three), sometimes it felt like he was the more mature even though both were really quite young to be doing the things they were.

        Rio was unpredictable at the best of times, but she seemed to go out of her way to make things harder for herself, the missions they undertook getting more and more suicidal. That being said… the size of the purse for each mission was getting bigger and bigger, in fact Sparky was far richer than his older siblings by quite a sizable amount (though he couldn’t exactly show or tell them how he came by it all). 

        “… At least you still have the DAF armour, maybe you can still try and bluff your way in or something … and you’re taking it off. Why are you taking it off!?” 

        “Hard to move, too bulky, clashes with my eyes, makes my butt look big… you know, the usual.” She said in almost a sing-song way. 

        “Are you kidding me right now..?” Sparky asked but already knew she wasn’t. 

        “Seriously, it’s way too heavy – my balance is off and I’m wasting a tonne of energy just trying to move about, and I can barely see anything in this stupid helmet! No wonder these guys are so slow to react to anything! It’s ridiculous. Besides, that Captain on the radio was already suspicious, he would’ve made me the second I walked into the base, and I’d have been captured – no doubt about it.” 

        “You’re worried that they would capture you?” 

        “Of course! I’m way too pretty to be put in handcuffs… at least not without my say so.” 

        As she was speaking, Rio was continuously discarding all the armour and weapons that the DAF soldiers would carry, until she was left wearing her usual skin-tight red battle suit – a top of the range armour that separated the fighters from the warriors. From the backpack she was wearing, Rio took a few belts she had stored and clipped them onto her suit, all of which had small lights that powered the powerful magnets incorporated into the belts lit up to show their activation as she did so. Also from her backpack, she equipped two large wrist launchers, which easily strapped on and secured themselves on her forearms, providing both armour and weaponry. All of it miles above what the DAF could scrounge together. Finally, she pressed her ear-piece, activating the two-way video link between them. As she did so, a small camera on her headset projected the video image of Sparky so that she could see him in real-time, as if on a screen floating in the air. Only the top of the line equipment for this duo. 

        “Besides, don’t you prefer me like this?” Rio asked, posing exaggeratingly while throwing a smirk at Sparky. 

        At his desk, Sparky couldn’t help but smile at Rio’s sheer arrogance. From his side of the conversation, he could see both the video link with Rio in one window on one of his screens, as well as a real time video of what Rio was seeing ahead of her – via a second camera planted on the bar extending above Rio’s eye – on another screen, so he could video chat with her despite being thousands of miles away from the action. 

        “Knew it.” She said with a smug grin. “So put your eyes back in little boy, and let’s make some money!”


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