Avaricious: Mission Pavour (Page 3)
“But he hasn’t given any information, we still don’t even know what Henri Pavour looks like – aside from the ‘top-of-the-head-shot’ I got from the satellite tracking. Why’s he suddenly so important?”
“I dunno – so how about we go and ask him?” Rio smirked as she replied.
With a simple jump off of the roof (the special heels at the bottom of her suit absorbing the shock damage of her landing with a springy motion), Rio was out of her scouting position and back on the streets. As she moved, Rio walked as close to the left wall as she was able, taking the time to peak down any alleys she came across. It was all quiet, save for the odd patrol or moving vehicle she could hear in the distance, but this was business as usual – after all Lashine was a huge city and a lot of ground to cover, but the DAF presence was still large enough so that they would be able to spot an incoming force easily – whereas a single operative like Rio would be much harder to find. Coming up to a junction, there continued to be no signs of civilian life – the only real markings coming from that of the soldiers would leave as they passed through; dog-ends from expensive cigarettes, heavy boot prints, the odd can or broken bottle of drink.
Every so often she would pass a small – rather quickly assembled – checkpoint, but these were simple little things, nothing at all like what she first encountered upon reaching the city in her “Nielson” disguise. At Sparky’s advice, she went around them – even though it would’ve been easy to take out each of the guards based on where they were standing, each one so relaxed and bored that they might as well have had bull’s eyes painted on their heads. As she came up to the main road leading to the airport, Rio paused for an update. She crouched by an overturned car, and Sparky’s floating screen appeared once again.
“I’m going to go cover to cover, get close to the walls and scale. Let me know if Pavour pops his head out at all.”
“Absolutely. Oh, before I forget again; upgrades.” Sparky said, suddenly remembering. “You may have noticed a new button on your ear-piece. Press it now.”
Doing so, a small screen emerged from the headset bar over her left eye; a tiny computer screen that displayed several bits of key information; the route Sparky had set up, scans on life signs, scans of battle signs (scans of spent bullet shells gave instant information what weapon was fired and how long ago, tire tracks in the dirt informing them of what likely type of vehicle was driven by how heavy it was, etc.).
“It’s like an instant scanner; picks up on everything and displays it to you in the field automatically as you look at it. I can also set up holographic ‘waypoints’, showing the path of least resistance to the objective.” He continued. While impressive that it did all that automatically, she couldn’t help but notice that it did the exact same job that Sparky was already doing.
“What, are you getting bored talking to me?” Rio pouted at him.
“Actually I think your father is trying to replace me. I mean he must’ve spent millions developing this tech that does my job – and not as efficiently, can I point out. I mean, you having to read all that why you’re in the field… It’s an unnecessary distraction. He never liked me, but he sure is interested in my tech (!)” Sparky frowned deeply.
This made Rio genuinely laugh, turning off the new accessory. “Oh Sparky, how could I ever replace you? Besides, you’re my favourite distraction.”
Of course he already knew this, but hearing Rio actually say it made him feel about a hundred feet tall, which she must’ve noticed because it renewed her own grin.
“Well, I’ll set up the route then.” He said, rubbing his hands together before his magic trick.
With Rio finally deciding to take a more stealthy approach (even if wasn’t the original planned one), at least until she was closer to the airport, Sparky plotted her a route to follow from cover to cover – and she was quick to follow his instructions and followed them to the letter. Able to look ahead for her, Sparky was able to tell her when to go and when to stay put, based on when the patrols and guard posts up ahead where looking her way. While most of the DAF forces were still loafing around, it seemed that another patrol was heading out into the city…
“Rio heads up. You have a patrol coming out of the base right now, Group A, and one coming up the main road three hundred metres behind you, Group B.” Sparky informed her. He called the two groups A and B just for quick reference for the two of them, he didn’t actually know their military call-signs – though it probably wouldn’t take too much to find out if he wanted. Rio was currently taking cover on the main road between the remains of what used to be a tank, and two cars which were still in serviceable condition – save for the engines that had been “procured” by salvagers, and so moved deeper into cover to avoid being seen.
As much as she was against stealth earlier, she was smart enough to know when it was best to not be seen, especially when you’re on a low, flat ground that would make an excellent shooting range for anyone looking her way.
“Group A has three souls, and B has four. Uh, looks like they’re going to pass each other… right on top of you.” Sparky added.
“Mmm, that’s too many on-top, even I have my limits. But then again, I’m never one to shy away from a party.”
“How on earth can you not be taking this seriously right now?”
She just smirked in reply, giving him a two-fingered salute as she done so, inspiring Sparky gave her an unenthusiastic thumbs up before his floating screen disappeared from her view. With a flick of his keys, Sparky activated the “Chameleon Setting” on her suit, instantly changing the bright red to an array of darker greys, matching the shadowy lighting under the car. Interestingly, her suit had several electronic strips emerging from the back of the collar, running through her entire hair’s length, which allowed her auburn hair to also change colour to better match her surroundings. While not on the same scale as her suit, it was still effective enough, turning much darker, almost black – she was practically invisible save for her gem-like purple eyes, peering out of the darkness like a cat. If you weren’t looking for her, you’d never find her there.
Patiently, Rio waited, while Sparky shifted nervously about his desktop, all he could do was check his screens again and again. He hated the wait. It actually fascinated Sparky how relaxed Rio could be during these sort of situations – she could literally be killed at any moment but it was like the fact didn’t even faze her – her heartbeat was steady, her blood pressure had lessened if anything, like she was utterly relaxed. He knew for a fact the even if he could walk, he wouldn’t want to be in Rio’s shoes – but in all their time together he had never seen her show any fear, leaving him wondering if she really was genuinely fearless or if acting was just yet another feature of her ever expanding résumé.
Like most of the DAF troopers, the incoming Group A were just simple grunts doing a routine check, slowly making their way down the street – chuckling and joking amongst themselves. They were loud too; their footsteps were heavy, their armours actually clinked and clanked as they went along, their voices were loud and full of themselves, ready to take on their mission, but then again they were sure no one was around to hear them so why not be? The bulky armour, wide shoulder-pads, and the full helmets with visors made it hard to distinguish, but from their posture and the way they walked, Rio could tell there were two men and one woman. She lay silently under the car, lying on her front so that her hair would hide her uncovered face, as they came to a stop just at the front bumper of the car she was hiding under, watching their boots as Group A met with Group B.
“Heading back in?” one voice in Group A’s direction asked.
“Wow, check out brain of the feckin’ year over here (!)” A voice from the opposite group said, audibly pissed off.
It seems like patrolling a desolate city everyday was a pain-in-the-ass kind of job, and these guys had been at it for almost eight hours on the trot. Rio silently listened as the boots all shuffled around each other, the asphalt of the road had chipped into an almost gravel like substance long ago, as the tired group eager to get back to base all but shoved the others out of their way. The difference between the two was like night and day – unlike the newly polished boots of Group A, Group B’s boots (which were all Rio could see right now) were encrusted with dirt and dust, signs of a hard day’s work. Safe to say their day was about to get a lot worse. Aside from shuffling boots, the only real sound was one soldier muttering “Feckin’ ejjit” under his breath, and the two groups went their separate ways.
“Wait… wait…” Sparky voice said in her ear (only she could hear him no matter how loud he was, so she wasn’t worried about the other soldiers picking it up). She was completely blind to where the two groups were now, and relying on him to be her eye in the sky.
“… … Now!” came Sparky’s signal.
Almost perfectly silent, Rio rolled out from her hiding spot. As soon as she was out of the darkness, her suit instantly changed to match the scenery around her, becoming more of a dull beige colour, her hair becoming sandy blonde. She jumped up and over the other car, quickly coming up behind Group A. Instead of directly attacking them, she launched herself off of another scrapped truck, landing into the fray with a vicious open-palmed strike. Her target was the middle guy of the group, and hit him with enough impact from her jumping attack to send him pancaking to the ground, before spinning around to grab the gun barrel of the woman at the back of the group. There was a bit of distance between the two passing groups now, so the others hadn’t noticed the sounds of combat, but if even one shot was let off – the jig would be up. Rio snatched the weapon out of the lady DAF trooper’s hands, using it as a club to whack the man at the front of the group, so that as he turned around to see what was going on, he received a crippling blow to his kneecaps. The troop tried to get out a cry of surprise, but Rio was quick to land strikes to their faces – aiming for their uncovered mouths. Instead of punching with a clenched fist, Rio used “open-palm strikes” – using her palm to make the impacts, as there was a wider surface area for the impact of the blow as well as less harmful to her wrists.
She was also trained to take on multiple opponents at once, keeping the momentum of her strikes as she moved back and forth between her targets – hitting the one in front, then the one behind; the idea being the to keep the enemy constantly on the back foot. The thick DAF armour, like most armour, was designed to stop bullets and impacts – but couldn’t compare with Rio’s own unique suit. As her strikes connected, her gloves let off a small pulse – enough to add a twenty-four-per-cent increase in her damage by sending a small shock through the foe’s system not unlike how a taser would do. Any more than this would explode bones in a way that might harm Rio as the splinters flew in all directions, not to mention would start to strain the suit’s capabilities. On top of that, it was just a nasty way to dispatch foes, so she didn’t use it unless absolutely necessary.
Rio quickly landed a four hit combination on the female DAF soldier, leaving the woman seeing stars as each pulse rocked her senses. Seeing this as an opening, the man drew a combat knife, and attempted to slash at Rio from behind, but a skilful grab of his wrist put a stop to that, and two solid hits to both forearm and elbow quickly followed, breaking and therefore disabling his right arm entirely during the process. Rio’s legs then flicked up and caught the female trooper around her neck, using a handstand to catapult the unsuspecting woman forward into her comrade, leaving the two of them crumpling into a pile on the floor.
“One o’clock!” Sparky informed her, as the first DAF trooper Rio had initially taken out had finally managed to get up, drawing his handgun to fire.
Seeing this as if in slow motion, Rio spun like a dancer around his weapon, wrapping her arm around both of his (which were holding his handgun), and twisting. While he kept a firm grip on the weapon, this was enough to stop him from pulling the trigger, and even allowed Rio a chance to elbow him in the neck. As he recoiled in pain, Rio’s foot slammed into his knee – his entire leg jolting backward with a sickening crunch as the sudden impact knocked his leg out of joint. She then back-flipped, bringing down her heel on the back of his head with enough momentum to score a knock-out blow on him.
“Chameleon off, setting stun!” Sparky announced. He had learnt a long time ago that, even though he enjoyed chatting to Rio far more than anybody else on the planet, it was best not to get too chatty and throw off her concentration during actual combat – only talking to deliver vital information whilst she was fighting.
Just like he announced, Sparky shut off the Chameleon settings, and Rio’s suit (and hair) quickly returned to their default colour. Afterward, an audible click came from Rio’s wrist launcher, telling her that her ammunition had been selected, loaded, and was now ready to fire. As fantastic as her suit was, it couldn’t be in stealth mode and fire her wrist weapon at the same time, instead doing one would stop the other. While either Sparky or Rio could activate the various features of her suit, having Sparky doing it remotely allowed Rio to just concentrate on what she was doing rather than taking the time to set everything up, even if it was only a second or two being saved. She fired her wrist launcher at all three – a tiny dart coming out it containing a pure white liquid that was injected into each. It was a non-lethal compound, designed to put people under and take them out of the game – they’d wake up in about six hours with a really bad hang-over.
“Group B is forty metres away.” Sparky’s voice informed, so Rio spun around to engage the other threat.
As she was closing in, she saw a DAF trooper on the gate entrance to the airport, not looking directly at her but would be in a few seconds, probably to meet the incoming group of soldiers. However, she had run out of cover between herself and the airport’s walls, not to mention she was already running flat-out at this point to catch up with Group B before they went inside, so there was no way that the gate-guard wasn’t going to see her once he glanced her way – and that meant the fireworks were about to start. Luckily, her suit’s rubber-soled boots helped to dampen the sound, so much so that she was able to run right up to the Group B without them noticing, just as the Gate Guard saw her. She slipped a hand through and grabbed one of the patrol’s hand-guns out of its holster, drawing the weapon on its owner and pulling the trigger.
The crack of the pistol instantly told her that it was a T12-Ops pistol; lightweight, easily drawn, and fast to fire, the trade-off was that it had a distinct lack of range and stopping power. Overall a simple, effective, and cheap weapon, if a bit old-tech for her liking. This meant she had to fire three shots at the same target, just to be sure that it would put the guy down for good because of all the armour he was wearing. Obviously they now noticed her, and this made his team of four others turn and panic-fire their weapons at the sudden noise. Panic firing was when an armed person is taken by surprise, and their natural instinct is to fire their gun without aiming (firing from the hip) because they’re weren’t expecting whatever it was that scared them in the first place. It doesn’t matter how great your training was, everybody can be taken by surprise – so when you jump (as in get startled) when holding a weapon, you fire in an ineffective way, burning through ammo and ultimately wasting bullets until you recover. While this sensation only usually lasted a few seconds, it was all the time in the world for what Rio wanted to do. Quick as lightning, Rio grabbed one as a human shield, firing the pistol into the remainder of the group. She felt the thuds as several bullets hit her “meat-shield”, so she jumped out from her impromptu cover and continued to pull the trigger.
The T12 only held nine rounds, so she kept a mental count – throwing the weapon aside when she knew the ammo was spent. Being fast enough to close in on her surprised armed opponents, Rio was able to beat another weapon out of its owner’s hands – this time the A34-R, a semi-automatic rifle. The main assault weapon of the DAF, the large ammo magazine held forty rounds (making the entire weapon somewhat bulky), and at such close range Rio was able to unleash its pure stopping power on the remaining members of Group B, shredding their armour to bits at point-blank range. As the gun ran out of ammo, she threw it at the lone survivor, before delivered a low, sweeping kick to take the only one still alive off of their feet, their heavy weight now working against them. As the trooper hit the ground hard, Rio immediately set on him, sitting on his chest. As she raised her fist, she activated a long, wide blade to un-sheath from her wrist launcher – which she quickly drove into the man’s skull.
Didn’t exactly make his day to say the least. Then again, the gate-guard opening fire on Rio wasn’t exactly Christmas for her either.
A swarm of bullets rained down on her, only just managing to roll forward and took up a position with her back against the wall thanks to Sparky’s warning of incoming. She supposed he only didn’t start shooting sooner for fear of friendly fire (hitting his allies), but that wasn’t exactly a problem anymore. Situated directly below him, the shooter couldn’t get a good shot at her, meaning that the gate-guard was forced to lean out of position to look down and try and get an angle on her. Now, a good gun-fighter would’ve changed position, or waited for backup. This man was not a good gun-fighter.
As he leaned over the wall, Rio fired upward at him from her wrist-launcher, not a knock-out dart but this time a long steel bolt – flying through the air with the speed and precision of a bullet, but without the sound – similar to a crossbow. It passed through the man’s head like a hot knife through butter, killing him instantly, though his finger on his gun trigger clenched, causing the weapon to fire as his body slumped down into the dirt. Naturally, this gunfire had drawn the attentions of everyone around, though they had no idea what was going on. She could hear the confusion going on as Sparky phoned in.
“Okay, let’s take out their radios. Deploying the portable EMP (electromagnetic pulse) in five. You ready?” Sparky asked.
“Go for it.” She replied, bracing herself against the wall.
“Two. One. Firing!” As Sparky activated the EMP from his computer, Rio’s suit’s computer (housed on her back) began to power-up. Contained in this unique buckle was an EMP device, which when activated let off a colossal electromagnetic pulse – frying any electrical system in the area for a quarter-mile around; lights, generators, radios – everything suddenly stopped working with a loud popping sound. While shockwave itself was invisible to the naked eye, even people could feel the sudden rush of as the electromagnetic energy passed through their bodies – though it did little more than cause a bit of a spasm in the muscles, the effect lessening the further away you were. Of course, Rio being at the very heart of it all caused slightly more than a little shudder, her entire nerve system left tingling. To add to this, using the EMP drained much of her suit’s energy – meaning that she could only use it once per mission, twice if she was lucky – but it also left several of her gadgets including her wrist-launchers un-usable for a short period whilst as they attempted to reset themselves – as well as the computer itself, reducing it to a simple bullet-proof suit. The only thing that was left able for use was her headset connection to Sparky, due to a special coating – though the connection was extremely patchy at the moment.
“Ri ---Okay---res---systems--- now.” Sparky said, his voice steadily coming in stronger as he repeated. “Rio, resetting systems, now. Can you hear me?”
“Urgh… ... I still can’t decide if I hate that, or really like it.” She frowned, a ringing in her ears.
“Satellite is still online, it’s time to move. Unless you want to take a break (?)”
Almost as soon as he had said it, the sky suddenly opened up, rain started pouring down – thunder starting to rumble. This also added to the confusion in the compound, as the sudden pouring rain made it hard to see. Rio grinned to herself; talk about a sign to get back to business.
Moving away from the wall a small distance, Rio was able to run two steps straight up it – jumping up and grabbing the ledge. She could feel the rough cut of the metal through her gloves, but was able to pull herself up with no problem – though no time for a handstand. On either side of the gate was one of the mounted gun positions – the guard not jumping on it due to Rio being too close below it, as the turret would not be able to aim down far enough and so was ineffective. Hearing men running around, due to the puddles quickly forming on the hard ground of the surrounding airfield, she reached down to the pouch on her boot, pulling out one of her tools. Using the spanner, she quickly unfasten the bolt holding that locked the MGP 12 into its “looking outward” position – so she was able to spin it so the gun was looking into the compound now, with it swinging freely and losing quite a bit of accuracy in the process – as Rio had to steady it with her body rather than the iron railings.
The gun was so large and powerful that two cushioned shoulder stocks were used to aim the gun, with the users having to move their entire body to aim at certain angles – making it quite the workout. The buzzing sound that the MGP made as it fired was comparable to a horde of angry bees right by her ears, and the flash as each round left the barrel of it made it hard to see where exactly she was aiming – yet more of the draw-backs of the weapon – but the actual firepower of the weapon was just something else. Her first targets were the other gun positons, at least the ones she could aim at, with the heavy 50 calibre rounds absolutely ripping the other guns to pieces, leaving them in tatters with no chance of repair. As each was destroyed, their own ammunition exploded, sending rounds flying all over the shop, hitting confused soldiers in all directions. From there, Rio focused fire on vehicles, not to cut off anyone trying to escape – if they wanted to get away they were more than welcome – because the plan was to start as many fires as she could.
The smoke belching out from the fires mixing with the rain trying to smoulder them shrouded almost the entire area with a thick blanket of smoke, adding to the confusion of the entire situation. Soldiers were running all around, firing in all directions, some were even firing at each other – somehow they had gotten the impression that they were under siege by a major attacking force, but couldn’t tell where exactly it was coming from. Without their radios, they were blind even as several officers tried to scream orders and updates, but everything was conflicting, leading to terrified men thinking that a larger, organised force was not only attacking, but had artillery support aplenty. This is what happens when you take in every plebe that comes along without giving them the proper training to handle these sorts of situations. Of course, it was all the work of one woman, but they definitely did not know that.
Pleased with her efforts, but not wanting to push her luck, Rio hopped off of the turret – taking the time to leave a little explosive to disable it – and jumped down from the walls inside the compound, smirking to herself as she heard the explosion behind her. For a piece of severely outdated equipment, it was a pretty fun ride! With the DAF troopers running around like headless chickens all over the compound – Rio opted to return to a stealthy approach, or at least, avoiding further open conflict, and made for the sets of nearby hangers that lined the runway. Most of these empty, filled with impromptu barracks or used as storage for the multitude of items they had acquired and had no idea what to do with them.
She couldn’t help but notice that there was no sign of the weapons that Pavour was promising. Strange, but maybe the DAF trusted him so much that Pavour didn’t even have to prove he had the supplies…
As she walked past the last hanger Rio was pleasantly surprised to see, as she took a quick glance at her surroundings, an old-school KSO-class bomber housed there.
“Oh wow, check it out Sparky, an ‘H-7’.”
“Huh. Didn’t think they made those anymore.”
“They don’t. What a beauty.” Rio said aloud as she stopped to admire the jet.
She had only seen these (and other types of) KSO airships in old magazines and documentary shows, it was designed very much like a submarine would be rather than a plane, with heavy armour and an energy-propulsion system that allowed KSO-class airships to fly across the sky at dazzling speeds. She had never up close and certainly never functioning, but it was airships like these that were basis of the design for Sparky’s RIAT – though again, that was only more pictures and blueprints to look at. As she walked around and examined it, she could now see each gun position – six of them in total, and all either automated or controlled from the cockpit, allowing the two-man crew to be protected from enemy attacks at all angles – and after wiping away some dust and grime, could see inside the cockpit itself, though to her disappointment this had been almost entirely stripped out. Like most of the old KSO airships, there were several small exhausts on the bottom and sides of the craft – to allow vertical take-off and quick strafes left and right in combat (to help it right itself when rolling as well) – while the larger main engine sat on the stern. This was as wide as the entire vessel, and as tall as Rio, but needed to be so to handle the massive generations that it produced. Apparently, before the collapse, these bad-boys would run off of some kind of energy-based propulsion system, though the actual technicalities were lost on Rio entirely, and allowed each to be capable of super-sonic flight. Seeing the old bird in real life was something of a highlight for Rio’s day.
From the condition of it, she could tell that this was yet another aircraft that wasn’t in any state to fly – but someone at some-point was at least trying to get it back to its prime. Most of the world’s airships were – for lack of a better word – extinct; with those still serviceable had been permanently grounded in some way, mainly due to the amount of upkeep they require, not to mention a lack of trained pilots, as well as the fact it would draw the attentions of people for miles around. Frankly it just wasn’t worth the hassle. As strange a sight it was to see the H7 bomber, it was also slightly worrying that the DAF were interested in taking to the skies – though they’d probably mess that up too.
“You wanna take a ride? I think we have a spare half-a-second.” Sparky remarked with his sarcastic tone, watching her viewpoint through his screen.
“Shush you. As much as I would love that, this girl has seen better days, she wouldn’t make it off the ground at this point. Besides, I just don’t have the time!” Rio replied with a legitimate sigh, patting the aging airship’s side. As she did so, she attached another of her small explosives to it – not enough to utterly destroy it, but to disable it and cause whoever was rebuilding more hassle.
“And don’t you need… oh what was it now? Oh yeah, training (?) Or would you just… wing it.”
“Ha.” She gave the old machine one last look. “Sorry girl, you deserved better than this.”
“Do you want a moment alone with the plane?”
“I thought you’d be happy I’m being all cultural and not killing someone (!)” She laughed.
“I feel like you’re delaying just to spend more time with the plane.”
“It’s not a plane, it’s an airship. You think a plane could go toe to toe with this thing? Planes were obsolete once airships appeared on the scene.”
“… I’m going. I’m going!”
As the small explosion ripped another – though much larger – hole in the hull of the bomber (almost breaking in two due to the age and poor upkeep), Rio was at full speed toward her objective, under the watchful eyes of Sparky in the sky. It was a straight run to the main operation building from the final hanger and the chaos of the unintended civil war raging on all throughout the compound now meant that the Command Centre was unguarded on the outside – but the doors were sealed shut. To compensate, Rio took the chance to dash over to the operations building and slammed her weight into the heavy oak door to get it open.
“Motherfucker!” Sparky heard Rio’s pained curse through his headset, and held his head in his hands. For someone so smart – she was prone to her idiotic moments. Perhaps in a compliment to Rio’s overall lightness or maybe to the strength of the door, but her entire body weight plus the momentum of her run wasn’t enough to even buckle it. Sparky watched as Rio attempted to kick the door in, kicking just next to where the lock and handle where located – just as any military personal would – however, it refused to budge an inch. Another kick, another kick, and one more for good measure, and still no luck.
“Hey, genius? You see that technology on your wrist there? It’s not for show.”
“… That was my plan B.” Rio replied as the wheels in her head caught up.
Sparky sighed and rolled his eyes once again, almost becoming a habit now. He didn’t know if the high security door caught her off-guard compared to everything else or if she was just having a blonde moment, then again she could just be taking her anger out on the door for not opening the first time. Whatever the case, he kept a watch on all monitors just to make sure Rio wasn’t being snuck up on, but his eyes darted over to a notice that told him Rio was powering up a high explosive ammunition from her wrist launcher.
His eyebrows raised as he suddenly realised why, but before he could say anything, the sound of a nearby explosion ripped through the headset.
“Rio! The lock-pick! I meant use the lock-pick setting!”
“… oh. Right… the lock-pick… Whoopsie!” Rio replied so playfully that Sparky couldn’t find the words to respond.