The Sorceress War Part I, Chapter XI
From the final medical evaluation of Major Raine Leonhart:
"Cadet Leonhart has an unusual amount of stem cells
in her blood along with unexplained energy reserves. Though these
reserves are not Sorceress in nature, they are certainly as intriguing as
fellow cadet Julia Heartilly's unexplained magic casting ability. Further
study is required to fully understand these
Zeta Base: 12:45 hours
Raine stormed through
the dimly lit officer's hallway which held all of the commanding officer
workrooms. Here she and the Pack would find Reinhart waiting for them
impatiently, ready to send them off on yet another mission, despite only having
one day to recover from their last fiasco in Esthar. Raine was easily
angered by this, and was clenching her fists so tight in fury that she was
afraid her nails were going to pierce the skin on her palms. The rest of
the Wolf Pack was strangely quiet, and not even Corin or Andraia were
complaining at the moment. Raine guessed they were either angry or afraid
that they had once again been called back to this remote area of the base for a
As they approached the
rear wing of the officer's workplaces, Reinhart's secretary looked up from her
current task and was about to greet them. That is, until she saw the
livid look on Raine's face, then she felt it would be much safer to say nothing
at all. Raine and the Pack didn't bother to wait for Reinhart's okay to
enter his room, and simply burst open the door and stormed in.
Reinhart turned around
suddenly with a stern look on his face. Not taking kindly to Raine's
seditious look, he ordered the Pack to line up against the back wall like they
usually did. Before Raine could say anything, he raised his hand to
silence her. Shutting her mouth, she stood at attention and awaited
orders. She took note that the Excalibur unit was already there, lined up
against the left wall. Ignoring Jesse Almasy's smirking glance, she
evaluated the unit that would more than likely be working with them on this
Excalibur was a small
but elite unit in the Galbadian Special Ops. corp. Only five soldiers
made up the unit, each trained in skills that an entire legion of troops would
need. They were one of the best units, but the Pack had accomplished many
more successful missions than Excalibur could dream of. The first person
Raine recognized aside from Jesse was Jun Alexandros, the female sniper of the
team who had told Raine of the Shaduna and Mysidians only moments ago in the
lounge. The second soldier was Aaron Tilmitt, a young but highly praised
aeronautic and mechanical officer. The next was Icelina Dekium, a
gunblade user like Jesse and an expert with communications. The forth was
Alexius Ryan, a sniper and demolitions expert (though his skill with explosives
was nowhere near as good as Julia's). And lastly, Jesse Almasy, who was a
hotheaded but skilled gunblade user who always seemed to have the best of luck
on his missions.
"Ah, the Wolf
Pack. So nice of you to join us this afternoon." Reinhart said with
false sincerity. He placed his hands behind his back and looked to two
unit commanders. "Now Major Almasy and Major Leonhart, I know there
is bad blood between your units, but you will have to accept each other for
interrupted, "My unit is currently fatigued and is in need of a few days
rest. Please reconsider your selection of soldiers."
the Colonel replied with an angry shout, "If I want you to go on
this mission you will! We don't pay you people to just sit around on your
asses all day and sleep! Now you will listen and obey, or else!"
What are we, the only
other unit on this base?! Can't he send out the Jade Phoenix unit, or the
Paladins, or even the goddamned Sentinels?! Hell, those are just the
units at this base, what about the units over in Beta or Omega
Headquarters? Hyne, I'm going to go crazy... Raine thought to herself
"Now, onto your
mission." Reinhart said, his voice returning to its normal
volume. He stood behind his desk and looked to the two commanders.
"You are to go to Helios. With the information received from the
Wolf Pack's espionage mission in Esthar, we have learned that a man named
Virados Nomair was placed in charge of Helios' diplomacy section not long
ago. He and Adel are conspiring a treaty between Esthar and Helios.
As you know the combined power of Helios and Esthar could easily wipe out all
of Galbadia and her allies. The combination of Esthar's advanced weaponry
and Helios' airship fleet and nuclear arsenal could destroy all hopes of
maintaining our own Western Empires, not to mention cut out all chances of
gaining a foothold again in this war."
Uh oh. Celeste
thought. The sound of the name Virados made her look to Raine in
worry. She noticed as the name was said that her commander's face grew
more stern and serious, though she could see Raine was secretly happy to possibly
get the chance to see this man again. She just hoped Raine wouldn't do
something that she'd regret later in life.
"Here is the
situation. Galbadia recently had a meeting of its highest officials, and
this ambassador Virados Nomair is considered a primary target of
opportunity. They feel that Virados is the true motivator of the treaty
about to be signed, and that he is slowly but surely corrupting and
overthrowing the current Helian government. Your mission is to
assassinate ambassador Nomair before he has a chance to sign the Esthar-Helios
treaty," Reinhart said, filling them in on their orders as he crossed his
arm and furrowed his brows in worry. This would be dangerous and the two
units would have to be clever in order to complete it.
While some soldiers
from both units gasped in shock at this order, Raine smiled inwardly.
Finally she would have a chance at her revenge. It couldn't have turned
out better for her. She glanced at her soldiers to make sure they were
okay with this. Several looked nervous, and some faces remained neutral
as the orders were given. Julia and Edea looked to Raine with worry on
their faces, and Julia even gave her a look of warning that said 'Don't do
anything stupid, or I'll come over there and bitch slap you until you pass
to make sure neither Major was going to say anything, and then began to give
out more specific instructions. "Here is the plan.
Intelligence reports that this Virados character has a residence in Helios'
well-guarded Presidential District. He is usually in the main base
however, discussing plans and strategy with his men. Team Excalibur will
infiltrate his living quarters in the Presidential District while Wolf Pack
breaks into the military base in the same district. The first one to find
him will immediately take action and eliminate him. You will be dropped
off by boat-- one unit in one boat while the other unit is in the second-- to
the Helios shores in Trabia, far from the capitol city. However, there are
some border towns about a mile or so away, if you can hike to them I'm sure you
can find some mode of transportation to get you into Helios' main city.
Meet at the military docks in an hour and a half. That is all,
The two units exited
the room with sullen expressions on their faces. Even the usually
rambunctious Jesse had a stern or worried look on his face. No one had
gone to Helios for a long time, and it was suicide to go in during war
years. It would be as bad as getting caught in the center of a
battlefield with no weapon or armor. Jesse led his troops down the hall
to give out orders to his team, while Raine stayed put just outside Reinhart's
office to give hers.
Raine looked at each
one of them, "Okay guys, you know the plan. Get to your dorms and
gather your equipment, then meet at the docks in ninety minutes!
Remember, no uniforms or Galbadian markings on clothes, we don't want to have a
dead giveaway so soon. Kinneas, if I were you, I would remember the
silencer and extra ammo for your PSG-1. Now let's go, we have no time to
Each Pack member
saluted and began to rush off to the dorms. Julia and Edea stayed back
however, and gave Raine a cold stare. The shrugged their arms and Julia
finally spoke, ignoring the morale booster speech Jesse was giving the
because we are assigned to kill this man doesn't mean it's gonna go easy,"
Julia said seriously, "You've got your chance now, but Edea and I don't
want you to go AWOL on us during the mission so you can kill him yourself,
amended, "We are assigned to kill him, but you cannot abandon your duty to
Galbadia. You will follow our orders to the letter, or your revenge will
get in the way and cause us more havoc than we need at this time. It is
going to be hard enough getting into the base, but if you charge after him the
first chance that you get, you will be killed."
Raine sighed and put
her hand to her forehead, "Yeah, I know that! It's not like I'm
going to go berserk the first time I see him over there! Of course I'm
going to use judgment in battle and not anger! You guys must not think I
know how to fight if you think I'm going to act like that!"
Julia shook her head
and waved her hand in dismissal, "No, no, no! We're just trying to
look out for you, Raine. We all know that you can act different when your
angry... hell, you act like me!"
Raine laughed quietly
at that. Edea added on, "Yes. No one can stop a Leonhart in a
rage, even if they are holding a bazooka and a chain saw!"
Raine told them to go
get themselves ready, and the three girls disappeared down the officers
hall and into the dorm sections of the base. Jesse also finished his pep
talk with his soldiers, and Excalibur quickly follow suit, jogging back to
their own sections of the dorms with quiet excitement. It had been a
very, very long time since the two units had worked together, and some
of the soldiers were anxious to see how much the teams had improved since their
last joint mission.
(Note: The two sea craft the teams
are taking are almost identical to the ones that were deployed by SeeD at
Dollet on Disc 1.)
The military boat
docks of Deling City weren't exactly the flashiest place in the city, but
served a large purpose in the war against Esthar. Aside from the Horizon
Bridge, naval forces were the only way to get troops across the vast East
ocean to Esthar and Helios. Air travel was out of the question to both countries,
since both had superior anti-aircraft weaponry and radar systems. Any
planes that went over to that side of the world, even high-altitude recon
aircraft, were shot down as soon as they got over the lands.
As Andraia climbed up
the finally set of stairs which led to the loading/personnel entry docks, she
saw Raine, Lily and Edea were already there and waiting, fully equipped and
having a small bag of items and weapons at their sides. Andraia herself
had her nunchakus, a few high-potions and at least five phoenix downs with
her. Also in her possession was a pair of handguns, just in case she
should need them. She never was a good shot, but when the situation
presented itself, she might just end up using them.
Ugh.. when I said
Raine should wait until a mission came up to kill Virados, I never dreamed that
it would come this early! Geez, when did things get so complicated for
us? she thought sullenly. Andraia didn't know much about Raine's
past, since the commander never talked much about it, but now she figured with
all the chaos going on, she didn't really want to know. However, Andraia
made a promise to herself to make sure Raine didn't get to depressed or angry
during the mission, and vowed to make her as happy as she could if her Alpha
Wolf ever felt down.
She looked around, her
brown hair falling in her eyes slightly. Was it only those three who had
gotten here already? After checking her watch she found that the teams
only had about five more minutes to get here, or they would be left behind.
True the teams were both elite and had stunning reputations, but weren't
exactly known for their punctuality. She sighed and began to walk
over to the females that were already there.
As she did so, she took
note of the vessels they would be taking. She passed two identical
Galbadian troop carriers, small in size but covert enough to sneak into Helios
or Esthar without a problem. They could hold about ten or eleven
soldiers, but there wouldn't be much elbow room once they got in there.
She compared them to a sardine can. However, this sardine can had a pair
of twin heavy caliber anti-ship and anti-infantry machine guns strapped onto
the top of the hull while the troops rested within the boat itself.
Andraia smiled, Oh, ho ho! Me and Julia are gonna have a field
day with that! Those Helian soldiers have no idea what they're in for!
everyone?!" Raine demanded angrily, "They are going to be late
if they don't move it! Ugh... they know how much I hate them to be
Andraia waved hello and
dropped her equipment bag as she did so. She tried to explain.
"Hmm... I'm not sure where everyone is, but I think I saw Epsilon and Zion
running down to the ammo lockers for some last-minute clips and magazines for
their guns. As for the rest, who knows?"
Celeste bounded up the
stairs shortly after Andraia said that. She smiled sheepishly and
apologized for her tardiness, "Sorry boss, I had to make some checks on my
computer equipment before we left. Got to make sure everything works, or
else we're screwed, right?"
guess. Are the others coming?" Raine asked, her hands on her
hips, along with an angry face to go with it.
Celeste looked back
down the stairs and to her leader again. She shrugged as she began to
walk over to them. "I don't know. I think the Excalibur people
are right behind me, but our group is scattered. They know the time, so
they'll get up here pretty quickly, I'm sure."
Jesse Almasy, closely
followed by his soldiers, came charging up the stairs with an excited
face. The man had always loved to go on missions, and didn't care much
for off duty or rest times. He wanted battle action, and since he was a
skilled soldier, he often got what he wanted -- even if his teammates didn't
care much for the fight. He ran his fingers through his scruffy blonde
hair which fell slightly past his neck and whistled as soon as he saw the
vessels they were taking.
babe! Have you seen these things yet? Cool!" Jesse
shouted over to them with a smirk. Though he and Raine never got along,
Jesse's personality certainly shone through whenever he was happy. Raine
simply nodded in return, not honoring him with words. He scoffed in
reply, deciding not to waste his time on her. He raised his gunblade to
his shoulder, as he often did when he was anxious.
"Hey, where the
hell is your unit, Raine?! Come on, I want to get going!"
Jesse shouted over to her again from the Excalibur vessel, which was a few
hundred feet away from the Pack's.
Raine waved her hand in
dismissal, "They're coming! Just hold your horses for a goddamned
minute or two! They're making last minute checks!" then Raine added softly
so he wouldn't hear, "I think."
"Have no fear, the
sniper is here!" Epsilon shouted victoriously as he, Zion and Julia
came up the stairway. The Excalibur soldiers scoffed at this, and Raine
just gave them an icy glare. Epsilon explained, "Sorry Raine,
we just had to make sure we had plenty of extra ammo in our guns this
time. We almost ran out in Esthar remember? Don't worry, Corin and
Lancer are right behind us!"
As he said, the final
two members of the Pack bounded up the stairs in a hurry. Lancer had his
pole arm latched onto his back and Corin didn't have to much of anything aside
from the small bag slung around his arm. More than likely that just held
some spare clothes and a few extra metal plates for his knuckles in case they
got damaged. The two men, and the rest of the late arrivals fell into
garrison line-up behind Raine as they saw a Galbadian supervisor approach them
from the vessels.
"Okay listen up
people, I'm only gonna say this once!" the officer shouted to the
two units. "I want absolutely no foul ups on the transport
over to Helios! Do not make radio communications or use electronics, they
will set off frequencies which will be picked up by Helios, and our cover will
be blown! By the time we get over to the Helian shore, it will be either
dusk or nightfall depending on how bad the seas are today. Now, Wolf
Pack, into the Vigilance and Excalibur into the Defiance on the
Upon hearing this, the
two commanders saluted and the teams marched onto their respective sea craft
and descended into the crew and passenger decks below the hull. It wasn't
going to be very roomy, and in fact would be like being held in a submarine for
the several hours it would take to get over there. Wolf Pack sat down on
the passenger seats and saw the entryway slowly close behind them. They
looked fondly at the last rays of sunlight that they would probably not see
again for some time. Trabian weather was often overcast with all the
snow, so even once they reached the shore it wouldn't be sunny in the morning.
As soon as the hatch
closed, they fastened themselves into the small seats that they were allowed to
sit in. Three columns of five closely packed seats made up most of the
area within the vessel. Behind them was the bridge and in front the exit,
which would open up once they reached the shore. A ladder to the side led
to a observation platform. Not having much room meant they wouldn't get a
chance to move around much. This would lead to stiff muscles or even
muscle cramps once they got off the boat again.
They heard the Defiance
engines roar, and could tell that it sped off before their own boat.
As soon as Excalibur's vessel was out of the way, the Vigilance gave a
loud rev from its engine and the team was thrown back into their seats as it
too sailed out of the docks and into the ocean beyond. They had nearly
forgotten that these boats could travel at speeds of 60 to 70 miles an hour,
even with the friction the water gave. They had yet another long journey
ahead of them.
Zion yawned and looked to his left and right.
Both Corin and Celeste, who were sitting by him, had fallen asleep on the way
over. Not really anyone was talking, even though they were only half way
to Helios. Most everyone had fallen asleep to conserve energy, but he was
one of the people who could not sleep during the day, no matter how tired he
was. The only people who were awake besides himself were Julia, Edea and
Epsilon. Edea was reading a book up in the front row, Epsilon was
cleaning his sniper rifle carefully in the back row, and Julia was two rows
ahead of him listening to music with her walkman.
He would have eaten
something, but the only thing the Vigilant had on board were military
rations, and he wasn't even going near those if he had the choice. He had
always thought that they tasted like cardboard. His muscles were already
cramping up, especially his legs and his arms. He stretched out his torso
by putting his arms over his head. Unfastening his seatbelt, he
decided that since no one else was up that he would go out to the observation
deck to stretch his legs. He got up from his seat and carefully moved
passed the sleeping Corin onto the walkway to the side of the far
He walked down to the
front of the boat and towards the ladder which would lead up to the observation
deck above. Edea stopped reading her book and looked up to him with a
confused expression, "Zion, where are you going? It's freezing
know." Zion replied with a smile. "But I'm going to go stir
crazy if I stay in here much longer. To top it off, my muscles are
completely sore, I need to go stretch them out a bit. I don't care how
cold it is when I do it, it should wake me up."
Edea nodded and looked
back to her book. Taking this as an okay sign, he began to ascend up the
ladder. He flipped open the hatch that led to the deck, and
climbed up. As he lifted his body out of the hatch, he was almost knocked
off his feet by the wind. They were traveling at a high speed, and in
conjunction with the wind already, the combined force was almost enough to make
him lose his footing. However, the sea wind was a relief compared with
the humid passenger cabin below.
He crossed his
arms and began to shiver. He wished he had brought his coat with
him. When Edea said it was cold, he didn't know she meant
this! Growing up in the tropical Balamb Island, he wasn't used to
temperatures below around 60 degrees or so. As soon as he stopped moving
he would grow cold, so he rubbed his arms to keep himself warm. Still,
what he said to Edea was true, he would have gone stir crazy if he had stayed
in the passenger cabin much longer.
He looked out to the
ocean around him in every direction. Waves were present of course, but to
his relief there wasn't a storm up ahead. The last thing some of the
motion-sick prone Wolves needed was to be tossed around like playthings below
decks as the boat rode waves over to Helios. Luckily, the skies were
clear and it looked like that wouldn't happen. Since Zion had grown up in
Balamb as a youth, he was used to sailing and water sports, and had grown
fairly good at predicting when ocean storms would take shape.
As he took a deep
breath of sea air, he heard the entry hatch slide open again. He looked
down as Julia began to climb up the ladder, her hair getting blown back from
the ferocity of the wind. She had a large coat draped over her shoulders
for warmth. She yelled over the volume of the wind, "Are you
crazy?! It's windy and about 30 degrees out here!"
know!" he replied, still crossing his arms, "I just needed to
stretch my legs out a bit. Why are you up here? Did Edea send you
to 'rescue me'?"
She wrapped the coat
tighter around her body and began to shiver, "Nope, I came up here
to rescue you. Edea's just sitting there looking bewildered because
people just seem to keep disappearing up here. Now come back inside
before you catch cold or something."
He chuckled slowly,
"Who are you, my mother? Honestly I don't see you in that
"As your mother
or a mother? Either way is freaky to think about at 19 years of
age." Julia replied, then continued on sarcastically, "If I were your
mother, I'd kill myself!"
Zion retorted, a gruff look on his face, "That's not funny! If I were your
parent, I would begin to wonder where your probation officer is."
Julia thought for a
moment as she opened the hatch again to go back down to the passenger cabin,
"My probation officer? I'm pretty sure that he's back in Deling City
at his office. I don't know, the military officials just usually lock me
up in the brig nowadays. My officer is there just in case I screw up
again while I'm on my off duty time.."
Zion's eyes slightly
widen as she said that with absolutely no sarcasm at all. Though deep
down it really didn't surprise him at all. Julia always did seem a bit
reckless and arrogant, even when he first met her. He didn't find it too
strange to hear that she would break the law back in her hometown during her
free time. He just had to ask before she went back down to the cabin,
"Really? What did you get arrested for?"
time?" Julia replied, beginning to climb down the ladder.
"Most often its for street racing with my motorcycle, or for
fighting. One time I robbed a few places because I was bored."
Wow. I know I
should be wary of her because of that, but.... it's actually kind of a
turn-on. Whoa, can't be thinking like that! He shook his head
to clear the thoughts, and followed Julia back down into the cabin.
As they refastened
themselves to their seats, the shores of the continent of Trabia, which Helios
resided on, became ever closer as the two craft sped of to the East. And
since none of them had ever been to Helios before, they had no idea what was in
store for them ahead....