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Close to the Sun

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Chapter 5

I threw myself down into my seat in the mess hall, putting my head down against my folded arms and blocking out all the noise. It was too much, I just wanted quiet. Just a moment to myself, it didn't help that I've had a headache that hasn't gone away for at least a good week.

"Yo, Rus," I hear Sera's voice approaching, over the last few weeks we'd run a few more operations that were more successful than our last, and unlike everyone else, she seemed to become very friendly toward me. I had mixed feelings about it.

Wait- Rus? That's the best she could do. Rus? That makes me sound old.

I tilted my head up, my mane partially acting as a white curtain as I peered into her eyes, and she almost flinched at my gaze.

"You look like hammered shit."

"Thanks, Squad leader. I'll take that into consideration," I huffed looking away from her, maybe I misread her seemingly faux friendliness.

"That's not what I- Look, you really should get something to help you sleep."

I squinted at her.

How does she know I'm having trouble sleeping?

"Who said-"

"We all sleep in the same place Icarus. Just... Don't let it become a liability."

There's the military bullshit.

"Did we ever get any intel on that guy who killed Ryder?"

Sera nodded leaning in close and dropping her voice low, "Let's wait until we're out of the mess and back in our barracks, this information is high-level clearance."

I put my back down feeling a pit in my stomach. There was the feeling again. This didn't sit right with me; we had an opponent who is an experienced combatant, willingly violent, armed, and dangerous, seemed to have easy access to military-grade weaponry, and indiscriminately killed civilians. I almost shuddered thinking about the massacre inside the diner, so many innocent lives taken at the command of one person. Yet here we were talking about how this information was only accessible to people with a certain clearance level. I felt like this should be public knowledge so that people could keep an eye out for him, this could save lives. Or at the very least someone could kill the guy. I could feel hatred clawing its way back into my mind. There was no way that this was right, people would die due to valuable information being withheld. Granted, I was in the business of ending lives, but I only killed who I was paid to kill and kept ordinary people out of it. I have standards, professionals have standards. This monster left nothing to chance, I was still convinced that we were lucky that our pelican hadn't been shot down.

That's The House's way, isn't it? A few souls are worthy of sacrifices. And I'm part of the problem now. Fucking dammit.

"You not gonna eat?"

I looked back up with a cold glare, meeting a concerned look, "No ma'am, squad leader."

"Meet back in thirty mikes, don't be late."


I trudged into the barracks feeling sluggish and sick. I bypassed the bunks and walked through a set of double doors in the back of the room which outlet into a brightly lit hallway, I continued straight past the door that led to the armory and through the door at the end into the mission brief room. I was instantly bathed in blue light as I crossed the threshold of the door, all conversation stopped at the same moment. There were more people in the room than I would have expected to be present. Sargent Kovich in a chair near the front only offered me an over-the-shoulder look, my squamates mostly ignored my presence, but Miranda of all people rose from her seat at the front and intercepted me.

What is she doing here? What is this?

"What gives- Squad leader," I restrained my irritation as I realized that once again, I was out of the loop, "You never told me that we would have people sit in-"

Sera crossed her arms, "I also told you not to be late. This isn't personal, but I need everyone to be one hundred percent for operations. Miranda's going to look you over, you're sitting this one out."

"You can't be serious-"

"As a damn heart attack. Miranda."

Miranda grabbed my forearm and moved me toward the hall, "Best not to argue."

I allowed myself to be herded out through the base and back to the medical bay, the room was just as plain, bland, and empty as I'd left it. I couldn't even say I was surprised at this point, every single time I'd trusted anything I got burned. This was just another to add to the collection. I made my way over to the bed I'd occupied the first time I was here and hopped up, taking a seat.

Miranda took my chin in her hand and brought a flashlight up to my eyes, shining a soft light moving side to side, "I should've checked the first time, but it's my fault that I missed it."

"She can't just sideline me like this."

"She's your commanding officer, she very well can- Follow the light with your eyes- If it's any consolation, this wasn't her call. Came from our local eggheads."

"Really. The scientists pulled me from the mission?"

"They said it was important. Your squad leader expressed concern about your seemingly worsening condition-"

I pounded a fist into the railing of the bed, "She said she wasn't going to tell anyone!"

She flinched away from me, a soft click sounding from her end of the room. Her hand was behind her back with steel in her eyes I'd never seen before, down where I slammed my hand the metal bar on the bed was bent almost completely off the frame tilting the entire bed toward the floor. Even the tile beneath the bed support seemed to have visible cracks.


I was standing, I didn't know when I had stood up, but I was on my feet.

"I'm... I'm sorry," I began taking deep breaths, calming myself, and pushing myself back up onto the bed. "She told me it was confidential. I fucking trusted her."

What the fuck was that? I just-

The click sounded once more and Miranda slowly approached, holding her hands toward me in a way like a surrendering motion.

"Icarus, I'm going to need you to trust me," She drew closer to my right until her hands rested gently on my hand. I began to calm down a bit more, it seemed like the only one here who actually looked out for me was her. "I need you to lay down for a bit, just sleep for a little. You'll feel better and I'll have something for you. Do you have anything else you need to tell me?"

I sighed conceding; I didn't have much choice but to trust her, she was the only way whatever the hell was hounding me would go away.

"I've been haven't been able to keep food down. I don't know why. I been having real bad headaches and throwing up at night."

"Do you think you might know why?"

"This is going to sound ridiculous," I hung my head in mild shame, there was no way I would have thought that I going to tell a doctor, a female specifically, that I was having bad dreams as an adult. Yet here I am. "Ever since the city op where Ryder was killed, I've been having reoccurring nightmares. About the guy who killed him."

I looked up at Miranda, expecting some type of amused smirk or a look of disapproval but she seemed to be just watching my face carefully.

"It's never the same place. A high rise, the base, a forest- It's always the same events. I wake up in a firefight, I can't get my bearings- The injuries I sustained are always different, I had a severed limb in one but the most recent was severe burns on my hands."

I lifted and stared at my hands. I could still visualize the third-degree burns, no fur- just reddened, bubbled up, burned skin. I swore I could feel the tingle of burns and fire.

"I stumble away following Sera's voice only to watch him kill her. We fight, but no matter what I do I can never beat him. He always is a step ahead, always blindingly fast- It ends the same. He kills me with that cursed fucking katana. The pain is always so real, I know it's just a stupid dream, but the pain lingers like- like a-"

"Phantom pain," Miranda offered.


I finally flopped backward on the bed only able to see her at the edge of my vision, "I don't think you can fix that, Doc."

"You might be in luck," She left my sight and the room for a minute before returning with a bottle of what sounded like some kind of pills or something. I sat up, confirming that she'd reentered holding it up for me to see. She stepped over to me, "Open up. This should help with the sleep issue and can suppress some of those nightmares, not all just some. However, if there are any side effects when you wake up you need to let me know. Okay?"

"I got it."

I put out a hand receiving a small tablet in my hand, giving it a skeptical stare. There was no way something this small would kick my sleep problem, but I was already trusting Miranda this far. I dropped it into my mouth and swallowed, nearly gagging as it went down.

Probably should have asked for a drink to go with it-

I felt my whole body fall back, falling...


I slapped on my helmet and gave it a jostle to secure it, the pelican lurched to the left and I rose to my feet grabbing my rifle from its usual location from the overhead netting and glancing around the hold. It was unusual for it to look this empty, but I had a job to do even if I was the only one.

This is still odd. I just got back from an impromptu medical stay, but she said I was the only one with the skills to pull this off.

I patted the mag, seating it properly and giving the charging handle a nice pull rewarding me with a sharp chik-chik.

"Hocus, pop the hatch," The bay doors opened, and I darted over to the edge sitting and letting my legs hang off.

I lifted my left forearm, messing with the screen until my objective appeared. I really needed to figure out how to work the thing effectively.

Retrieve intel from the enemy encampment. That's a bit vague. I probably don't have the clearance for better scouting. Fucking bullshit. I would say that sounds easy, but I haven't had an easy mission yet.

"Hey, Icarus," Hocus near shouted in my comms, "I'm dropping you near the last known location of the intel, we couldn't pinpoint it exactly but it's somewhere down there. The only thing in the area is an old military training installation that could be getting used as a base of operations by that guy who killed Ryder-"

"That demon is here?"

Hocus chuckled, "Interesting nickname you have for him- Why? Looking for a little payback?"

"Retrieving that intel is my only mission."

"Sure. I doubt it though, that place hasn't sent for help and their all-clear signal is still being sent. I'd still give it a look to be safe."

There was a dim light from the moon that was vanishing from sight, if I had to guess, sunrise had to be soon. Below, seemingly infinite spanning miles of zoomed by only tree-lengths below looked like a murky sea of pointed black waves. It almost made me nauseous to look at.

"We're flying low-key, Snowball, drop zone incoming," I chose to ignore the nickname Hocus bestowed on me, "Thirty seconds!"

I scooted forward holding my sniper tight and securing Sera's sidearm.

"Any advice, Hocus?"

"Stay frosty, good hunting. Greenlight. Goodbye, Icarus."

I leaned forward and fell out silently, plummeting toward the inky blackness just hoping I didn't land on anything sharp. The snapping of tree branches filled my helmet and rattled around until I hit something that was hard and soft at the same time, drifting down until I gently landed on my back, or at least gently compared to how fast I must have been falling. I didn't even realize I had closed my eyes until I opened them once more, the visor was blacked out, and my HUD still showed up however meaning that no vital systems were damaged. I reached up to my head with lots of resistance and turned on my night vision before rising to semi kneeling semi-sitting position getting my hands ready on my sniper, from what I could tell I had landed in a body of water deep enough to cushion my fall somewhat.

Must have made a shit ton of noise though. On your toes now.

It didn't seem that deep as I could hear the water lapping against the top of my helmet just from a crouching position, that or I was lucky enough to land in the shallow end. I took a moment to steel my nerves before emerging from the water just enough to poke the scope and barrel of the rifle around. There was a thin fog that hugged the water and refused to dissipate. On the far end was a small dock for tying up rowboats but the lake was empty on all sides thankfully. All alone the last thing I needed to do was get into a firefight. Securing the sniper to my back, I waded out into the water as quietly as possible treading water as it seemed like I wasn't even moving. I fought every urge to panic as my head bobbed over and under the water level, I forced my movements to remain steady and slow. It wasn't long before I was less than half a tree length from the dock.

"I'm tellin' ya," I stopped swimming and allowed myself to sink just below the surface muffling the sound, "You're hearing shit, ain't nothing out here."

I laid myself horizontally across the bottom, plants caressing the edges of my visor. I wasn't under the wooden dock but just far enough away to see the moon just over it, then a chupa with an Assault Rifle with a finger carelessly on the trigger as he stared into the water. With the night vision, I could make out the annoyance on his face, disheveled clothing, and wild mane.

This dude looks out of it. He's got a weapon, he's gotta go.

He then turned away with his arms out in annoyance, I almost shot up quickly resurfacing and slowly reaching for my left hip with my right hand. I grabbed the handle of my combat knife, carefully sliding it out of the sheath and flipping it around so it pointed downward in my grip, I hugged the shadow rising a little further out of the water.

"See? Nothing!"

"But that pelican," Another voice sounded off from further away.

"But nothin', Nick."

"You know what? Fuck you, Zeke."

The chupa standing on the dock, who I assumed was Zeke, snorted and scoffed cursing that person under his breath. He began to sigh and the moment he exhaled I shot out of the water grabbing him by the shirt and pulling him into the murky water. He began to fight and struggle instantly. I slipped my hand over his mouth, holding his head up catching a glimpse of his panic-stricken eyes before plunging the knife into his chest until the struggle died down and his eyes stared blankly into nothing. I rolled over, removing the knife, I released him with a push toward the bottom of the lake watching him descend slowly with blood billowing out into the water. I holstered the knife and resurfaced reaching up and pulling myself onto the dock, once I was up, I remained prone and began a slow crawl off the wooden dock into the thick underbrush. I crawled until I felt concealed enough and rose to my feet drawing the pistol from my hip.

How am I going to get back? If they don't have something I can steal I might have to just hoof it to a nearby town and call in- Assuming there are any nearby. I didn't see any lights when we were flying over.

From the cover of the thicket, I could make out a campfire not too far away with tents and tarps set up. I advanced on it as quietly as I could manage at a painstakingly slow pace, closer and closer until I was just outside of the firelight. I turned off the night vision. From what I could see, there were three tents and I counted four in each except for the last one. Their weapons leaned up against a rock near the campfire. I rolled my eyes at their carelessness.

One's missing. Probably a perimeter guard- wait, the guy I killed was the guard most likely. Where's the-

I ducked down as a figure quietly walked back into the camp facing away from me with their arms crossed, the guy looked distracted, and I was at the advantage. I slithered out from my cover, flicked the safety off, stood upright, and crept up behind him. I was close enough to breathe down the back of his neck.

I felt a grin and couldn't help myself, "Boo."

I clamped a hand over his mouth and pressed the pistol to his temple, I tilted his head back just enough to give him a decent view of my visor. Weirdly enough, it was easy as he was near my height. His hands instantly moved to a surrender position.

"You know you really should have checked on Zeke, Nick. Now here's what's gonna happen. I'm going to uncover your mouth and you're going to tell me exactly what I want to know. Only speak when I tell you to. If you even look like you might try something stupid, I'll kill you. Sound fair?"

He paused before nodding carefully. I sighed.

Three, two, one...

I let him go, both hands on the pistol and taking a step back with it pointed at his skull. This was unknown territory now; I was trusting a hostage not to do what hostages do.

"Turn and face me. Slowly."

He complied, keeping his hands up. With him facing me I could see the fear on his face, his sky-blue face illuminated, and his brown eyes shone with a tremble.

"I'm looking for your base. Where is it?"

He swallowed and spoke in a low trembling tone, "I-it's over west from here."

"How far?"

"About two miles with patrols and camps every quarter mile."


"Only the guard towers, everything else was stripped for scrap."

I loosened up slightly, "Vehicle situation."

"A few warthogs, I think. I-I don't know I haven't been there in days."

Holy shit. Alright, got more than I thought I would get out of him. I thought that only worked in the movies.

I wanted to just walk away, but there was something bugging me. There was something about the sound of his voice that put me off when I pointed the pistol at him. There was a question that refused to leave me.

"How old are you?"

"I turned sixteen last week."

Fuck- That's why it felt wrong, I was holding a kid at gunpoint.

I lowered the weapon away from his face and began to walk past him, "If I even think you lied to me-"

"You'll come back and kill me?"

"Hope you didn't lie to me, for your sake."

I marched off into the brush leaving the kid behind me, I felt almost sick. It felt wrong, but I had to do it to get the information. I growled to myself; I knew that it violated my own moral code even if I didn't know it.

I'm not one of them.


I crawled prone forward on the ledge, reaching for my sniper and swinging it around in front of me. It had taken longer than I was comfortable with finding a decent vantage point and by now a light rain had begun to pick up, but I refused to go in blind. I flicked on the night vision and zoomed in. From the hill I had a clear sightline on most of the old base, the kid was truthful, but I doubted anyone would lie with a gun pointed to their head. Just like he said, the two guard towers still stood with a sentry posted in each, and judging from the unholy amount of chupas I had to dodge on the way I could only assume more inside. However, what he failed to mention was the fact that the entire base was elevated off the side of a cliff face.

Fucking why? Why did it have to be a fuckin' mountain? What possessed them to- No wonder why it felt like I was going uphill the whole way here.

I couldn't see any external guards patrolling the walls, I shot my eyes back to the installation. There were multiple tower-like structures, I could only guess the place was much bigger on the inside. My main issue was how I would get inside, then the idea came to me. I felt self-hatred well up, it was a terrible idea but my best bet.


Fuck, fuck, fuck, fuck!

I gripped the tower tighter, hugging myself to the structure. By this point, I could hear the sentry a good thirty feet above me cough and mutter about being stuck on guard duty. I dug in tighter as a gust of wind threatened to push me off, this had to be one of my worst ideas.

Climb the guard tower in the rain, fucking brilliant idea brainiac. Stupid HADES, stupid anarchist motherfuckers, stupid rain, why not snow-

I looked up and met eyes with the guard in the tower his eyes reflective in my night vision, the look of utter confusion on his face would have been hilarious had I not been hanging on for dear life. I shot my right hand down to my hip.

"What the-" My trigger finger was faster than his brain as I blew it out the other side of his skull and painted the ceiling of the guard tower with a well-placed shot between his eyes, his body limply fell forward and toppled over the guard rail and hitting the ground below with a soft thud.

"Dumbass," I growled hauling myself over the railing and then throwing a glance over at the other tower.

The other guard must not have heard the gunshot because he was still looking in the opposite direction, I thanked my lucky stars for suppressed weapons. I got low and made my way to the other side of the post accidentally peeking down the ladder. It was a long way to the ground. Now that I was inside the compound, I could see just what I was dealing with.

From my position in the guard tower at the front gate, the closest building was the barracks, past there was an armory and what I figured was a motor pool as a few chupas milled around inside taking cover from the rain as it began to pick up slightly. Between the more significant buildings were office trailers, some of the buildings had lights on inside and others did not. Only the motor pool was brightly lit with floodlights with the garage doors wide open like metal awnings, just like the kid said there were three warthogs sitting there under careful watch by armed guards. I wasn't getting out that way without a shootout or dying in a hail of gunfire. Further past that looked like something that could be a command or communications center, but the base seemed to extend past that. I shook my head.

I don't have time to creep around this place. If I'm gonna do this, it might just have to be a straight sprint and hope I have a way out. Actually...

I looked down at my wrist and the screen on my left forearm lit up dimly, I turned off the night vision and began going through the interface finding an option for a motion tracker. It was the first I had noticed it and seemed enticing.

I don't have time.

I shut off the interface and slid down the ladder of the guard tower, sprinting by the other tower and past the barracks using the rain to cover my footfalls. They couldn't see me in the dark, but my eyes were adjusted, I could navigate unseen. Even so, I gave the motor pool a wide berth not wanting to be caught in the floodlight and risk having my mission end abruptly. I slipped by with ease. I was coming up to the command center in a low crouch, still wary of my surroundings. Suddenly the door opened, light spilling out into the night from the doorway, I dove to the ground. Two chupas wearing various parts of red and blue army armor walked out having a debate.

"Really? You never thought about it?"

"Thought about what?"

"You ever wonder like- what the hell we're even doing here?"

"No, I'd rather the boss not dismember me."

I rolled my eyes at the stupid conversation turning my gaze to the door, they'd left it wide open. I bolted inside and shut it quickly.

So far, so lucky. Maybe now the motion tracker...

I took a deep breath and began sprinting down the hall, this was a sprint now and I couldn't stop or get stuck anywhere. As I ran, I noticed bullet holes and blast damage as well as blood painted on the walls illustrating a story that I could piece together myself. I advanced up the first stairway ramp I could find until I hit the top floor. It didn't help that all these metal halls were identical, at least until I passed the first signage I noticed. Although the paint seemed faded on a wall in front of me read out ‘Comms Center'. I cut a corner hard almost losing my balance but maintained my footing, as I pelted aimlessly through the hall, I swore I could hear a voice. I drew my pistol in stride and rounded another corner, an armed guard was patrolling the hall walking away from me. I bolted past him, putting a round through his head without breaking stride.

Nah, that'll take too long.

I finally slid to a halt in front of a door with a crudely painted radio on it, it didn't take an expert to know that wasn't The House's handiwork. I stepped inside, hunched over, and released a breath I didn't know I had been holding. Once I recovered, I lifted my head to take it in. What probably had been a wonder of technology was reduced to its barebones as countless consoles were destroyed and the wires ripped out, some of the terminals were riddled with bullet holes and spattered with old blood.

"Damn," I checked my wrist-mounted interface, holstering the pistol.

I wasn't a technology guy, but it looked as if my interface had a connector piece. If the intel was anywhere in the room, I was going to have to plug in somewhere to get it and hope that the device just does the rest of the job. I bypassed a pillar in the center of the room that held a large red lever, more than likely it was just an alarm. I tediously checked all the consoles getting antsier and antsier the longer this was taking.

Come on, come on.

I spotted a port that wasn't damaged or shot to hell. The moment I plugged in my interface lit up bright before showing the word ‘downloading' and a process bar, in my helmet a new visual element appeared. A semi-transparent sonar with ‘25m' over it began to scan but marked nothing other than the dot in the middle which I assumed was me.

I knew it would have taken too long. Easy pe-

The sonar showed a red dot slowly approaching, I cursed under my breath. I hadn't seen anyone the entire time I was running the halls and now someone wanted to show up. I couldn't just disconnect; it could corrupt the intel.

Come on, come on.

The dot came closer, slowly but surely as the download neared eighty percent. Closer, ninety-two. Closer, ninety-eight. The dot was at the door.

The moment ‘download complete' flashed on the screen, I disconnected and whipped around, pistol pointed square at a chupa who stood near the middle alarm pillar with a mug full of some hot liquid that gave off a thin fog. His rifle was clamped under his armpit. He clearly didn't expect anyone to be here as he looked genuinely surprised. His eyes darted to the alarm, then to his own rifle.

"Don't. Even. Think about it," His arm shot out and I unloaded a single shot.

Time seemed to crawl as I watched the body fall... Right onto the alarm, managing to pull the lever in a last dying act of defiance. The lights turned red, and the claxon horn blared through the whole base.

"You've got to be motherfucking kidding me! It's never easy- no, where's the fun in that?"

I hurdled the body; tumbled through the door and took off pistol in hand, I navigated wildly, the alarms made it hard to focus. I rounded a corner a group of armed chupas sprinting my way shouted and raised their guns, in a split-second decision I shifted my weight back dropping onto my butt and sliding. I folded my left arm under my shooting arm to counterbalance the handgun and opened fire dropping all three, I popped back up to my feet scooping up one of their Assault Rifles in stride before holstering my pistol.

No need to burn through my ammo.

I felt like I was on autopilot as I flew down the winding halls, I could hear shouts all around but couldn't see anyone. I turned a corner with guns pointed, I turned on a heel narrowly avoiding the gunfire. I fought to force the word 'trapped' out of my mind.

I need to focus! I need to get outside.

I tightened my grip on the rifle as I began to clear my head and focus on escape, I returned down the way I came, going down the flight of stairs I had entered through only to stop after hearing shouting from the lower floor. I ran through the stairwell door into the middle floor with heavy footfalls hot on my heels.


I ran harder, ducking my head as gunfire erupted in the hallway. I hit two more turns, I desperately needed to find an exit and as if an outside force understood my wishes, I turned another corner to spot a window at the end of the hall. It wasn't ideal but I wasn't going to be stuck in here hunted like a rat. I pumped my legs harder as I neared the window that was larger than it appeared, raising the AR and shooting the middle portion of the glass. I lowered my shoulder and jumped.

The glass exploded into millions of shards and for a few moments I was weightless as rain and glass flew with me almost levitating, I was deaf to the noise, the glass glittered quietly.

The sound was violently jammed back into my head as I bounced off the muddy pavement, separating me from the commandeered AR and leaving me to regain my bearings. Ringing filled my head for a few moments. I forced myself to my feet, grabbed the AR, and looked around moving toward the center of the road. All the lights were on now. I looked around spotting what looked like a landing pad a good distance away, however, there was no cover from where I was to there. There was no way I could make that run; I could vaguely make out the shape of a pelican resting on it.

What was that?

I froze, I swore I heard a growl of some type. The growl sounded off again, this time closer as if it was approaching.

"Is that a-" A warthog screamed as it rumbled up the road eyes hungry as the driver floored it at me, I tucked the rifle under my arm and took off.

No matter how hard it felt like I was running, I could feel the headlights glaring down hungrily as they roared closer and closer. I took a chance and dove to my left, watching the warthog thunder past. I shot back to my feet once more and chased it opening fire. The vehicle swerved, crashing into one of the small buildings. I closed the distance on the driver dumping a few rounds into him and keeping it moving, the last thing I needed to do was stop. The landing pad and the pelican sat dormant ahead of me, the only thing that separated me from it was a walkway and a flight of open stairs... And the handfuls of guards posted at it.

At least twenty chupas began to file out of the stairs from the pelican, I glanced over my shoulder and could see the mob coming with the remaining two warthogs in tow.

It's now or never.

I charged forward; the nearest guard leveled his rifle at me, only dropping the rifle when I shot him in the knee. He cried out and dropped down to that same knee, I planted my foot on his back and leaped toward the crowd landing on the shoulders of another. I lowered myself like a bird opening fire on everyone near me until he fell to the ground taking at least seven down, I rolled over and held the guy I had landed on over me as a meat shield. They mercilessly fired at him, much to my own surprise. I didn't think they would shoot one of their own guys. I sprang up, throwing the corpse onto the nearby guys knocking down some and causing the others to stumble back. One of the guards who hadn't been knocked over regained his footing, I pulled my trigger and the AR clicked defiantly telling me it held no more bullets. I cocked my arm back and launched the empty firearm like a tomahawk, clocking the guy in the face and dropping him. Another began to stand up I closed the distance, delivering a swift kick to his head, took his rifle, and sprayed down the remaining guards. I discarded the gun and thundered up the stairs and into the cargo bay of the pelican. The cockpit door refused to open.

No, no, no!

Without thinking, I punched the door handle and bent the door off the frame using every ounce of my strength. I slipped through the gap I made; I secured my sniper on the nearby console and threw myself down into the seat taking my helmet off, and setting it down.

Let's hope I learned something from Hocus.

I began flipping switches, panic rising as engines revved and yelling grew louder. I flipped one switch and the pelican let out a deep whoosh of life.


I pulled up, feeling the pelican begin lifting off.

"Shit, this is just like the flight sim video games."

I felt a giddy giggle escape my lips as I turned it around taking one last look at the base, right before I punched it out of there, I swore for a split second I had spotted a pair of glowing golden eyes.


The sun was out now the rainstorm was long gone; I'd been flying for a while now at this point. I could understand why Hocus liked flying; it really cleared your head which is what I needed after that shitshow of an operation. I needed a break and a hot shower.

The pelican's radio beeped and began to speak, "Unidentified pelican, you are in restricted airspace. Identify, over."

"This is Unidentified pelican," I responded picking up, "This is Specialist Icarus, under the command of Sargent Kovich. I have the intel and just need to be guided back to the base for delivery. Over."

"Standby for confirm, stay on the current flight path."

I rolled my eyes; it wasn't like I knew where I was flying anyways.

"Repeat on last, you said Icarus?"


"Intel was recovered?"

"Yeah, that's what I was sent to do."

"Good. Activate Recovery protocol. That's one less loose end."

Did he say loose end?

Alarms blared as a missile lock warning appeared on my screen, I hung a hard left and an explosion rocked the ship.

"You motherfuckers!"

Why did I trust them? I'm a fucking idiot! I'm not one of them.

The pelican barely flew straight now, the left side wing showed up as damaged on the display, but I was still maintaining altitude.

I tried once more with the radio, "Friendly fire! Cease fire on Unidentified-"

The cockpit rocked with a second explosion, my face rushed toward the console and the lights went out.

Red vs Blue © Rooster Teeth. Halo © 343 Industries. Concept by Myshu, assisted by The Department of Chupapology.

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