Episode 5
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Submitted By Lamp on 12/10/09
CC Fan Fic Project, Lamp, Episodes 

   Despite what first observers, rookies and the just plain stupid think, rear guard is one of the most dangerous positions in a squad, behind pointman. Cpl. Sunders was well aware of this fact as he covered his four-man squad's rear as they advanced through the corridor toward the next door. They were checking each room along the way to see if the recruits gone rouge were hiding in any of them, and he was guarding each door as his team cleared the room in case the recruits decided to use the moment to fire some rounds into their back.

   The corridor they were in looked a bit like a plaza; potted plants  and benches dotted the walls, the floor was covered in white tile and the blue ceiling was raised just enough to give the fake appearance of being outside on a clear day. It was shaped rectangular but not at all narrow, with a good ten meters between the narrow ends and twenty meters between the long ends. Each long end has two doors and the narrow ends had one, each spaced evenly. A small table in the northwest corner was the only reference point; everything else had a corresponding object directly parallel to them on the opposite wall. The whole place was remarkably well maintained compared to the base it was concealed by.

   Sunders's team was called in due to a death by one of the bases guards at the hand of the new recruits. Despite only being a corporal, Sunders was one of the most skilled soldiers at the base along with the rest of his team and was purposely put in a lower rank to avoid suspicion; the team was the guards of the special ops facility underground. They were not allowed to talk about it to any other guards, but they really didn't interact much with them as they only went topside to the barracks in the other bunker to sleep. The rest of the time they patrolled the facility, though it really wasn't that big of a place to patrol. It was a sleepy but important assignment, especially with the fact the base would almost certainly fall under an attack of decent size. If any dangers appeared then they would escort the research staff to the garage and into a group of clunkers for evac. This situation however was not the appropriate time to signal an evacuation for the topside guards would get suspicious; it was up to Sunders and the rest of the team to take out the threats before they did anything else.

   Knowing the layout of the complex by heart the team quickly went through each room. The garage where the team was in when the alert came in was obviously clear, as well as the command center housing the research staff. The barracks was clear besides some scientists sleeping in their bunks, as well as the bathroom and the supply room. That only left one door; security and the lounge. The team stacked up on the door, Sunders last in line. The pointman tapped the wall to squad to get ready, then he quickly opened the door and sweeped the room with his rifle. The room was empty. The recruits must all be in the lounge.

   The team stacked up on the lounge door. The pointman tapped the wall.

   As the team filed into the room, there was no doubt to the fact that the recruits werenít in there. That meant they had missed them somehow and they had free access to the command center and the research staff. Just as Sunders turned to exit the room, the door closed. He tried to open it, but it was locked.

   They were trapped.

----------------------------------------------------------------------

   I had to smile to myself as I held the door shut while Happy engaged the lock from the computer.
"You sure there isn't a way for them to get out of there?" I asked.
"No," Happy said, "If Jay couldn't open it in an hour, I doubt these guys could do any better in five minutes."
"Good. Let's get CKM and Frank."

   The door leading to the entrance corridor was discovered to have locked behind us when we came in, so we had to hide someplace else. CKM and Frank were in the barracks, pretending to be sleeping. As soon as I entered they got out of the bunks.
"Well you're not dead, so that has to be good," CKM remarked.
"Sure is," I said. "Whoever is watching us is likely in the command center. Same formation as before, letís try and see if they can be taken alive. That said, if they are listening in on us right now they know we're coming, so don't be afraid to shoot if they put up a fight."

   We went back into the corridor and stacked up on the command center door, on the same wall as the door to the barracks. I knocked hard on the door.
"Your guards aren't going to be doing anything right now," I yelled, "so if you want to live you will need to come out with your hands up. That, or we bust open the door and kill everything inside. You have thirty seconds!"
"We won't actually kill everything inside, right?" Frank whispered.
"No, but we will go in. Get ready to move in on my mark." There was a loud commotion going oo on the other side of the door in the wake of the news.
"Ten seconds!" I yelled. The commotion got worse.
"Five!" The door remained shut.
"Four!"
"Three!" I put my hand on handle.
"Two!î

   "One!" I charged through the door.

   If you have never gotten shot by a bullet before, let me tell you how it feels. It doesn't really hurt as much as you think it would actually, esspecially with the small caliber pistol round fired and the fact it hit the side of my belly. I mean it hurts bad, but I was still able to get off a burst of three from my rifle and flip over a table for cover. I saw Happy go through the door and fire a long burst. I let them clear the room while I sat down and inspected my wound. Nothing serious, but hopefully there was a first aid kit or else this wound would be a lot more deadly.

   "On the ground!" I heard Frank yell. They must have subdued at least one person non-lethally. Good. We might be able to salvage this. Happy came over behind my table.
"You alright?" He asked.
"Yeah, Iím alright. I couldn't see what was going on, what happened?"
"There were four guys, maybe officers or researchers. One had a pistol, I shot him in the arm. Frank is frisking them all now."
"Where's CKM?"
"Uh...he's over there by the door."
"Tell him to get off his lazy ass and find a first aid kit. There's a storage area across the hall from here, there should be one there."
"Hey CKM! I need you to get off your ass and find this guy a first aid kit. He's bleeding to death, in case you didn't notice."
"Yeah yeah, I'm on it," CKM said. He walked out the door a lot slower than I would have liked him to.

   It took CKM ten minutes to get back with a first aid kit. I took it out of his hand and immediately began treating myself. I made sure not to go overboard though; the kit was small and I likely needed to keep enough supplies to treat our wounded hostage. The bullet wasn't lodged in, thank god, so it just needed to be cleaned and bandaged. Frank escorted our captives into another room while Happy check out the computers in the command center. After getting a bandage secured I checked out what Happy found.

   "Well you suspicions are confirmed, this is an evaluation," Happy told me. "They temporarily had the guards relocated to the facility's garage while they gave us a few things to see how we would react. Jay was one, but in the lobby there was a wire trip with a flash grenade the guards disarmed for us, in the barracks there was a member of the research staff the guards removed, and there is also a fake alarm that goes of when someone enters the storage room. They called it all off when they thought we killed Jay.

   "Well now, for the grand question; why do they have us here?" Happy smiled.
"They're putting us in a vehicle unit. An expensive vehicle unit. Let me pull up the schematics, one second." Happy opened a window displaying a 3D design of a car. I let out a low whistle.

   The car looked like it fit the definition of a clunker, but it wasn't a old rust bucket. It was a car-tank hybrid it body design with a thick steel chassis, a narrow bulletproof windshield, and a turret coming out of the back of the car. The car was visually pleasing to the eye with a glossy black paint and a bit of blue paint on the sideskirts, around the rims and on the body. The rims on the thing were absolutely massive while keeping the suspension remarkably low. I couldn't see the inside of the model, but some specs on the side of the screen showed that the engine was a sport electric that could reach a top speed of over 180 KPH in less than six seconds and fired shaped anti-tank rockets as fast as the gunner pulls the trigger, with up to six in reserve ready to load in before having to change over to a new rack, which the car could carry four of. There was even a weapon swap system allowing up to two weapons to be carried at once. One thing for sure; this wasn't your ordinary clunker.

   "This is insane," I remarked. "These things have the firepower of two tanks and at least five times the mobility."
"Five times?" Happy said. "I'm thinking hundredfold, and then some."
"Now what do I not see that makes you think that?"
"Top right. See those stats? They aren't just in case you decide to jump a gap." The stats he was referring to was a collection of aerodynamic formulas and approximate aerial speeds.
"So what your saying is...this car can fly?"
"Let me show you how it does it." Happy manipulated the model so that we were looking at the backs of the tires.
"Now tell me, what the hell are those things?"
"I'm not an expert myself, but they look like a kind of mini jet engine. One for each tire is able to lift the car fast enough to dodge attacks, and when the car is tilted they provide forward lift."

   "So we were chosen to pilot the most dangerous vehicle in the world. Why us?"
"We each have a full psych profile detailing why. Let me show you mine." Happy pulled up a document. If there was something to know about him, then it was here. A ten-page long history, skill set, weapons experience, personal relationships, the whole works. His name wasn't displayed and he was only given the designation 5 as a title, though there was an unfilled form for a codename that was to be given.

   "They go into detail with this, but here's the jist of it. I was brought on for weapons, computers and tech experience. They got wind of me when a scout saw my camp's defenses obliterate a raiding party. After some further digging they chose me out of the techies there to join this project. Apparently I was getting some praise behind my back I didn't know about."

   "As for you, you have military, combat and vehicle experience in one nice package. The guys in your tank crew considered you to drive the tank like it was part of you, and they say they owe you their lives. One told his superior officer and it traveled up far enough to get you here."

   "Frank's got an extra-big file. He's become almost legendary driving a tank across the country. Apart from that, he also helped defend a camp he arrived at from raiders, going on foot and fighting with an old rifle when he used his last shell. He was picked out for this project from the start."

   "CKM is here because of his "distinguished service history" being one of the best in the army. Obviously whoever sent him here didn't look beyond his shiny medals, and from some footnotes from the writer of this psych report there are a few people who objected to him coming here. Apparently those people didn't win the argument."

   "All right then," I said. "Anything else in there worth noting?"
"One thing. The team we are going to be assigned to has five members, all arriving today. We have four in the complex here, so a fifth member is currently MIA. They were a bit panicked about it and waited for him to show up, but he never did. Eventually after a bit of arguing they sent us in the eval without him."

   "So," I said. "Who is this fifth member?"

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