The Sorceress War Part I, Chapter XIV
Raine was crouched on top of one of the many buildings that surrounded the military base in the Northern District of the city. How they were going to get in, however, appeared to be a difficult matter. High fences covered in barbed wire surrounded the compound, and guards were stationed at every corner of the outer perimeter. The warrior just hoped that Virados was not in his quarters, and that Excalibur couldn't kill him. She wanted to make the kill herself, without much aid from her comrades. She had come too far to just sit by and let someone else kill the man.
The comm. link crackled at her side. "Raine? It's Icelina, pick up!"
"Are you guys in the North district now?" Raine asked, picking up the communicator at her side and pushing one of the buttons to talk.
"Yes, in fact we're about to go into Virados' quarters. We'll move in and check the place out, then call you back if we find him or not."
"Sounds good." Raine replied, and shut off the comm. link.
Raine sat down Indian-style on the building rooftop, trying to rest. Looking around her, she evaluated how well her teammates were holding up from the hour or so of pole-vaulting. Celeste was nervous, as usual, atop the high roofs, but was slowly adjusting. Andraia was a bit tired, but she would have plenty of time to rest since only Epsilon, Raine, Celeste and Lancer were going to infiltrate the base. Everyone else seemed to be normal. That is, however, until she spotted Julia. The staff user had withdrawn herself into the shadows of one of the spaces of the building they were on. She hadn't spoken much, and if Raine remembered correctly she hadn't said a thing since she yelled at Celeste for smashing into her on the first pole vault.
The brunette held a glum expression on her face, much like Raine usually did. It was as if she was in deep thought, though that was unbecoming of her. Julia never liked to dwell on subjects long, and usually didn't worry on events that were about to happen. Raine considered going over to ask what was so disturbing, but decided against it. She figured calmness and thinking would be good for the ever-reckless Julia. Edea noticed Julia's odd behavior as well, but also decided against mentioning it. Deciding it was none of her business, the sorceress turned back to her conversation with Celeste and Lily.
A few minutes later, Raine felt an ominous emotion coming from her gut. It would only be a matter of moments until Excalibur radioed in again, telling her that Virados would be dead. Or so she dreaded. Hopefully, they had turned up empty handed. As there was a beeping sound at her waist again, she detached the comm. link and allowed the other user to talk.
"It's your show now Raine." This time it was Jesse who had called. "Ambassador-boy isn't here. Have fun..." With that, Jesse disengaged from the conversation with a laugh.
Raine stood up with a smirk, though it was barely visible. She turned to her soldiers, who gave her a knowing look in return. Standing up to her, Epsilon, Celeste, and Lancer awaited her orders. She had told them earlier that it would only be the four of them going (to Julia's dismay), and were eagerly awaiting the mission at hand.
"All right," She began to tell them. "It looks difficult to sneak into, but that's why we were sent, right? We're supposed to be the kind of team that can do the impossible. The place is guarded with a barbed-wire perimeter and if we actually found a way to sneak in from above via the roof, we'd be spotted by the guards. As for a plan... I'm still thinking. Damn, and we don't have much time either."
Epsilon peered over the side of the building, scoping out any probable entrances. They needed to be covert, therefore not making any disturbances to the base activities at all. More or less, the base looked almost impossible to get into without blowing up the perimeter itself. He shook his head and looked to them.
"The thing looks as impregnable as Andraia." He said with a smile.
Celeste looked back to Epsilon and retorted, "Really? It doesn't look that easy!"
"Shut up, people." Raine said sternly, though if one looked closely they could make out a small smirk on her face. She began to walk towards the side of the building. "Infiltration team, we're moving down to ground level. Maybe we can plan better down there. Edea, take my comm. link in case Icelina or Jesse calls back!"
Edea nodded and caught the communicator after Raine threw it to her. Once that task was done, Raine and the other three soldiers began to descend down the ladder that was attached to the side of the building. The building wasn't extremely tall, maybe only five or six stories tall, so the climb down wouldn't take extremely long. However, they had to make sure that they weren't spotted by Helios military personnel or Sector Police, which were only a few blocks away. Since they were in the shadow, though, it would be harder for the Helians to spot them.
Once they were down on the snow covered streets of Helios City, Raine led them into a small ally between buildings. She crossed her arms and tried to think of some sort of plan to enter, though the outcome seemed difficult to come to. Lancer leaned up against one of the buildings, placing his foot on the building and looking down at the ground in deep thought.
Celeste inwardly cursed herself. She had spent four months in a tactics/strategy course, just as Raine had. Two people who had been trained for just a situation couldn't come up with an idea, and the task of doing so was about to drive the blonde woman insane. Epsilon adjusted the denim jacket he was wearing, since he wasn't use to the cold of Trabia, and looked up to the sky.
Then, a few shouts came from the Sector Police a few hundred meters away. Though it was hard to make out, Epsilon could tell some of what the Police were saying in the distance. Being a long range sniper did have its perks, and the ability to gain amazing hearing was one of them.
"This shipment of weaponry and supplies is being transferred into the base. What's the problem?!"
"Who is the shipment from, I need to check the list."
There was a sigh, "The shipment is from Biotech Industries. We're here as ordered, so let us through already!"
Raine looked out from the ally, careful so she was not seen by whomever was talking. At the Sector Checkpoint a large supply truck was parked, awaiting clearance from the Sector Police. Raine smiled, for this was exactly the kind of thing she was hoping to happen. She quickly turned back to the others, who also shared the same look.
"Okay, when the truck rolls by, jump into the back. Be careful not to make to much noise. Try and throw supplies or whatnot over you so that if it has to be checked, the guards won't see us." Raine ordered.
The others nodded in agreement, and prepared themselves for what they were about to do. After more arguing between the driver and the Sector Police, they finally heard the roar of a large engine, and the rolling of tires on snow covered ground. As the large silver truck rolled slowly by, the team ran out of the ally and quickly scaled up the back of the truck. They landed in the back as planned, without to much noise either. They scrambled to cover themselves with anything ranging from blankets to medical crates.
The truck stopped just outside the base, and the guards quickly waved the driver in towards the parking lot and cargo delivery station. They had quickly checked the truck, only looking inside. Luckily, no one had saw or sensed their presence underneath the supplies. Soon, they were traveling passed a crate-filled area. Raine dug herself out from the supplies and looked outside carefully.
She could see more guards at the depot the truck was coming to, and knew that the supplies were going to be unloaded as soon as they arrived. She quickly ordered the others to come out, and to prepare for a quick escape from the truck. As it rounded a corner, the four soldiers leapt out with amazing speed. They rolled to a stop behind a crate, and remained in a crouched position for a time.
Raine turned to them and gave her orders. "Okay, here's the plan; even if it is a shaky one at best. I want Lancer and Celeste to go find an entrance and search the bottom levels. Epsilon and I will take the top floors. Look, I want to kill this guy, so if you guys find him first, trap him and wait for me to get there so I can make the kill. All right?"
"Raine, that's risky." Lancer shot back. "It'd be best for us to just kill him quickly and get out."
She nodded unhappily, "I know... but still..."
Celeste put her hand on Raine's shoulder. "I can't guess how you feel, Raine. But... I'll make sure that you get every possible chance to take care of this guy. Don't worry."
Lilliana removed the binoculars from her eyes and turned to the rest of the Pack. "Well, it looks like they got in okay. That was like, a one-in-a-million chance that the supply truck came by just then. We've got some amazing luck on this team."
"You just noticed that?" Corin exclaimed, "If it wasn't for luck, we'd still be rotting in that prison in Esthar!"
Andraia wrinkled up her nose, "Eh, I don't believe in luck! It was skill, that's all! We're just so good that it seems like we've got good luck. But, nope, all it is, is pure skill and good intelligence!"
"Oh, yes, that fully explains how our 'skill' caused a supply truck to appear out of nowhere." Edea interjected. "I don't know about luck, but I suppose it's just an unusual coincidence that we keep dodging danger and imprisonment as much as we do."
Zion jumped down from the small platform he had been sitting on and wandered away from them. Talking about luck wasn't exactly so interesting to him, and he wanted nothing of the conversation. He'd come back when they start to talk about something he would like. That would probably be awhile, since most of them were female. He considered asking Corin to a game of Triple Triad, but he took note that he didn't have his good cards or Corin didn't have any of his.
Then he saw a sight that he thought he would never see. Julia was standing in a dark corner all by herself, looking down at the falling snow as it descended from the heavens to the ground and buildings around them. She appeared to be in deep thought, as well. If it were not for the leather jacket and torn jeans that she always wore, he could have mistaken her for Raine in the dark. He slowly walked over to see what was wrong.
"Hey." He started lamely. "What's up?"
She grunted a response and didn't take her eyes off of the spot where she had been gazing. Zion scratched the back of his head and tried again. "What are you doing over here all by yourself? Usually you're the life of the party."
"There's something...." She began, narrowing her eyes a bit. "...about snow. I don't know what, though. It's like something's stuck in the back of my mind, but I don't really know why snow reminds me of it."
"Snow?" Zion replied, confused. "I dunno... did you used to live here?"
She shook her head. "No. Or at least.... not that I can remember. I don't really remember anything before about age 7. Anything before that is a blur. Sometimes I can feel something.... like fragments of memories, and stuff like that."
He crossed his arms and looked at her. "Fragments of memories, huh? Funny; is it like some sort of amnesia?"
"I don't... know." Julia shrugged, thinking for a moment. "I don't know, really. Probably. Maybe it's just me, I can't really remember what I had for breakfast, none the less what I felt when I was five."
Edea looked back as she heard this conversation. Though she held no emotion in her face, her golden eyes were sparkled over in worry and astonishment. She knew why Julia couldn't remember her life before age seven. In fact, both she and Raine knew. The two women had never mentioned anything to the brunette for their own reasons, and they felt that it would be best if Julia not know what her life had been like before that seven years of age. The two felt guilty for not telling her, but both knew that it would do no good to tell her of what they knew. If anything, it would make her more confused.
Instead, Edea shouted out something else. "Maybe it's because you kept blowing up things, and you blew yourself up to many times in the process! Remember the time you blew up your father's car?"
"Yeah, but I was fourteen then." Julia countered. "I'm talking about age 7. That was when we first met, right?"
Edea stuttered her words at that comments. "U-uh.... yes. I believe it was."
Julia raised an eyebrow at her behavior but didn't question it. Instead, she just continued to lean against the platform she was by and gazed off into the distance. To his surprise, Julia actually let Zion stay by her. He had assumed that she would have pushed him away so she could brood to herself, but then he realized that brooding wasn't exactly her nature, and she'd want someone close by.
He wasn't quite sure if he should hug her or leave her be, so he just sat down by her side for silent comfort and support. He looked up to her again and made a vow, "Well, I promise I'll help you find out about your past."
She looked back to him with shock in her eyes. She looked as if she was going to say something, but didn't. After a few moments she nodded gratefully, "Thank you."
They had been down there for a good half of an hour, after finding a small entrance not far away from the cargo terminal. However, wherever they seemed to go, they ended up right back where they started. Even the ever-patient Celeste was beginning to get annoyed about the whole thing. After taking yet another walk through the maze-like sub-level, she stopped and swiftly hit the wall beside her.
"Hyne, this is driving me crazy!"
Lancer sighed and then nodded to show his agreement. There's got to be something we're missing. Like some sort of button or something that will open another panel. He thought to himself. He looked around again, searching the walls for any sort of weird indentations or things of a similar nature. He continued to walk on, Celeste tagging along behind him. She had apparently caught on to what he was doing, and began to search as well.
He stopped when he saw a statue of a tiger in a corner of the walkway. He approached it closely, holding his lighter towards it as close as he could. Using the light from the flame, he read a small phrase at the tiger's base. 'Only a true soldier, with a fire in his eyes, can go further in his journey.' It was cryptic, but Lancer understood what it meant. The tiger was a symbol for the Helian army, as it had been for generations. He held up his lighter, and allowed the flame to creep into the statue's eyes. Celeste looked at him as if he were insane for a moment, but after she read the phrase, she too understood.
"Get ready for anything." Lancer commented. He didn't know what exactly would happen if what he planned would actually work. He hoped that it wasn't a trap in reality. He didn't exactly like the idea of a fight at the moment.
As he pressed the flame into the eye socket of the statue, the eye burst into flame. He repeated the process with the other eye as well. A kerosene-like liquid must have filled the bottom of the hollow eyes. As he lit the second eye, the wall in which the statue was on began to slide backwards. When it had slid back about five feet, it slid into the left wall, revealing another walkway.
Celeste sighed, "Thank you. One more trek around the old path and I would of had to go kill someone!"
The two of them laughed and began to move through the new hallway. They exited into a room which looked eerily abandoned. Celeste felt that feeling in her gut that told her that things were far too quiet. The room was a kind of office area, though it was completely devoid of life. A computer sat of a presidential like desk and the room was decorated in elegant tapestries and sculptures. She walked over to the desk and found that most papers were addressed to Virados Nomair.
"This must be a workroom for Virados. I don't think this is his main office, though. Main offices for high ranking people are on the top or ground floors, and we're on a sub-level." She informed Lancer, though she was more or less musing the information to herself.
Lancer nodded in return. "But don't you think there'd be some guards on duty? I have a bad feeling... this is way to creepy for my tastes."
Celeste agreed, a military base would have more life to it. Even if it was an abandoned room, they should still have been able to hear to conversations of guards or off-duty soldiers outside of the twin oak doors which were the entryway to the room. She looked around hesitantly, for anxiety was already beginning to course through her veins.
There was a loud roar in the back of the room. Pivoting around as fast as they could, they saw a large humanoid creature burst through a second door. It stood at least eight feet tall and had the figure of a body-builder. Though it did not have 'hands' the beast had a club like arm with a large spike or claw protruding from it. It had off colored blue skin, and eyes without irises or pupils. Another low growl seeped out of it's vocal cords, and it slowly began to stalk towards them.
Celeste and Lancer drew their weapons out, but were so shocked by the figure that they could do nothing but slowly back away towards the doors. When they could back away no further, Lancer turned around. Pulling on the doors as hard as he could, he found them to be locked. He let out a curse word and turned to Celeste.
"Looks like we have no choice but to fight this thing. It looks slow, but who knows?" He began to say. "We've got no choice. Let's go!"
With that, the two separated and ran to either side of the room in preparation for an attack...
AN: Think of that weird thing Celeste and Lancer found as 'Tyrant' from Resident Evil: Code Veronica. It was meant to resemble that thing. Anyways, please be kind and review!