Episode 8
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Submitted By Lamp on 12/11/12
CC Fan Fic Project, Lamp, Episodes 

   It was easy enough finding a big truck, but a single man is a much harder target to track. While a truck moves in predictable patterns and is easily spotted, a man moves unpredictably and is able to camouflage himself. It only got worse as time passed; it was getting darker, and the search area larger. But we needed to find this man before we could come back to base, so we spent the hours searching through the forest. By the time the deserting soldiers were interrogated for his position he had a several hours head start on us. But we had the Combat Car, and he was likely injured and moving at a slower pace, so we thought we had the upper hand. After midnight, we didn't think so anymore.

   Our orders were to come back to base with this guy or not come back at all, so we drove through all kinds of roads to find him. We reached highway 55 at two o' clock, which means he could have hitchhiked. I really wanted to call for support in finding this guy at this point, but it probably would be better if we were the ones to find him.
"Hey Natty, you know any camps nearby he might be hiding at?" I asked over a private comm channel.
"There are a lot of small camps along here, none that should take more than five minutes to look through. The nearest big camp is down the road north ten kilometers. He might be hiding out there. Problem is that place is defended rather well and I don't think they would take too kindly to military kicking down their door."
"So one guy goes in on foot, parks the car a kilometer away and then goes in."
"The place doesn't let just anybody in. You have to pay for your stay, usually in ammunition or weapons."
"Well then we take some EMP grenades, use those to pay. If you know your way around these people you probably are the best guy for the job. I'll watch your car while XD and 5CKM3 search the small camps."
"You mean you sleep while I go in."
"Fine, I'll do it. But next time it's an order."

   Nattyfrank and I parked the cars in a clump of trees next to the highway, hidden out of sight.
"Creamy, I'm going to need a face and a name if I'm going to find this guy," I said.
"Can't give you a name, even if I wanted to, they just don't have it on record here. I do have a face though, sending you it now." The face of a young man appeared where the map had. The man was older than XD but younger than me. His deep blue eyes stood out."
"Thanks," I said. I studied the portrait for a few minutes, and then got out of my car. I opened up the grenade launcher on the back of the car and took four grenades, hopefully enough to get me passage.

   After a few minutes walk on the highway I reached the camp. It was no castle but it was pretty well defended, with sheet metal walls and machine guns lining the perimeter. It was rather large and looked like it could hold a great deal of houses assuming they were kept small. I approached the front and a section of the wall swung open as a gate. Five men each with emergency rifles came out and approached me.
"We don't let just anyone in here, you know," one of the men said. "If you want in, you better empty those pockets." I showed them my grenades. The man looked unconvinced.
"They're EMP grenades," I said. "Disables electronics and motors. Not much bang but I think it would be helpful to your defense in some way." The man took out a card.
"This will last you until tomorrow," he said. "It's your pass inside. If you don't have one of these or yours is expired, then we have full grounds to shoot. You understand?" I nodded.
"Good. Now come inside."


   The whole place felt like a slum. Overpopulated, limited access to food and water, guards everywhere, deplorable housing conditions, the whole works. So when I came up to the gate and said I was a doctor, they all dropped their tough-guy act and rushed me into a clinic that was set up in the middle of the camp. Needless to say it was full to the brim and the doctor on duty was at the best undereducated. Supplies were short, I was tired, and my patients endless. After two hours of chaos I was pulled out by a guard and replaced with another doctor. He gave me a card good for one day's stay. If I wanted a longer stay I would have to head back to the clinic and pull another shift.

   For now, I was safe. I knew the military was tracking me and I had hopefully given them the slip in this camp. They figured I was likely injured but there was nothing on the outside that showed, thanks to some improvised treatment with some weeds to make a brace for my back. I had broken a rib definitely, but I knew how to keep it out of further harm. And so I was able to reach the camp without hurting myself or being captured. It was miraculous, and I might just make it out of this alive.

   I stayed in the shack of one of the guards whom I helped with a bullet wound earlier. As a member of the camp's guard he had basic utilities but it was still poor living conditions. This whole camp was in a deplorable state. It was amazing that people would sacrifice so much for protection. I personally could live like this and planned on moving on as soon as I found some trasport. That however would mean that I would have to hitchhike with the next person to arrive by vehicle, and I would likely need something to offer payment as. That would mean working extra hours at the clinic for payment, and as much as that place depressed me I knew I needed to go back in the morning.

   Screw the military. I never should have signed up.


   After all this searching, I was really starting to hate this guy. It was one thing keeping me up past midnight driving, but having me search through these slums where I'm scared that I'll be shanked any moment is another. Now he had me sitting next to a women with a broken arm and a man with a severe cough in this pitable clinic. Whatever injury he had better be good enough to get him here, because I was sick of searching around for him.

   I waited for the majority of the day in the clinic. I must have gone through over a hundred patients by the time I decided to give up. My pass was going to expire and I was running on no sleep. I left the clinic and sat outside, and shut my eyes. A few hours nap, then I would head back to the cars.
"You alright?" I heard someone say.
"Yeah," I said. "Just need some sleep."
"Out here?" I grunted.
"Just how long have you been awake?" I heard the man say.
"Maybe a day, a bit over?" It was at that point I opened my eyes.

   And there he was, the deep blue of his eyes gazing into mine.
"Come on," he said, "Let me get you to the clinic, you need some attention. I'm a doctor, don't worry, I won't mug you." I laughed. A doctor!
"What's so funny?" he said.
"Nothing," I said. "Nothing at all."

   He took me to the clinic and gave me a pass so I could sleep until tomorrow. They didn't have a bed but at least they had a mattress reserved for patients. It was rather ironic this predicament, but I decided to let it go on. It would give me a chance to sleep, and I didn't want to reveal myself until I was sure that the man wouldn't run. Hopefully there wouldn't be too much panic with my squadmates.


   "cremyjr, what time is it?"
"Just after midnight, why?"
"Because his pass has expired and he hasn't come out yet,"
"What?" I didn't give him an answer. I burst out of my car, quickly emptying the grenade launcher on the back of the car and pocketing the grenades. I then ran towards the gate.

   The guards were playing their tough-guy act, as usual.
"Whoever you're running from, they can have you if you don't empty those pockets." I emptied my right pocket, containing two grenades.
"EMP," I said. "Stops motors and electronics. Do you know the guy who came here earlier with some of the same stuff?" The guard took out a pass.
"One day here, if you don't have a pass or yours is expired we kill you. The guy you're looking for is in the clinic, just radioed in not to shoot him. He'll be out tomorrow. The clinic's down the main path a bit."


   "Doc! We got someone who wants to see someone in the back. He isn't saying who, just that his friend is here."
"Let him in, he won't cause too much trouble."


   The back of the clinic reminded me of some type of medical tent used by an army. The walls were covered with cloth and the shelves were not as organized as the labels said. Instead of an opperating table they had a sheet of sheet metal on the floor. There were mattresses in the back where patients were resting. The doctor was talking with one of the patients when he noticed me and walked over.

   "Who's your friend?" he said.
"Um...I don't know his name."
"You must be close friends then." I could tell the doctor was doubtful of me, so I just walked by him to the patients.
"Excuse me, you can't-"
"This guy! Yes, this guy. Why is he here?"
"Lack of sleep, he was about to collapse in the street and his pass would expire so I took him here and had the guards give him a temporary pass. Do you know him?"
"Yes, he's in the same squad as me. I was looking over our stuff while he came in and he didn't come out in time and...buttocks!"
"Forgot your stuff?"
"Yes! I need to get back to it, its two vehicles and...our superiors would be angry if we lost them."
"Can they carry a passenger?"

   "Yes, why?" I said.
"Well I need to go someplace and considering I just prevented your friend from getting killed I think it would be kind of you to return the favor and offer me passage up the 55."
"Look I'm sorry, I just can't do that. I just don't have time, I'm already late getting back."
"All right, I understand. Do you want to wake him?"
"Yeah, probably. We need to get back to base."


   "Wakey wakey, come on, get up." I opened my eyes.
"Natty?" I said.
"Yeah, it's Natty, get up you lazy bum."
"Natty," I whispered, "The doctor. He's our guy." Nattyfrank's eyes widened.
"You sure?" Nattyfrank whispered.
"Yes. We need to get him out of here, there's a guard in the front of the clinic."

   "Hey!" the doctor yelled. "Rise and shine, your buddy's come to collect you."
"Thanks," Nattyfrank said. "I never got your name."
"Well, thank you John. But, uh, could you help me with something?"
"What is it?"
"Well, um, could we talk? In private?"

   John ran out the clinic.

"Damnit Natty!" I shouted as he ran after the doctor. I got out of bed and put my shoes on quickly, then ran outside. John was down the main street, running for the gate. Nattyfrank was right behind him...followed by a guard, with his pistol drawn. I ran after the group. John ran out the gate, shouting something at the guards at the entrance. They then turned to Nattyfrank, who tried to run back but was tackled by by the guard behind him. I ran past them all, out the gate and towards the freeway following John. I heard a shot ring out behind me and prayed it wasn't aim at Nattyfrank.

   I ran onto the freeway, chasing John southward. We ran for half a minute before I caught up to him, but I ran past him. After running for another half minute I ran into then through the brush, reaching the cars. I entered the closest car, which happened to be Nattyfrank's but I didn't care. He needed to get out of there.
"XD! CKM! Get to me now! Our target is on the 55 near my position!"
"Uh, why are you in Natty's car?" cremyjr said.
"Nattyfrank is detained in the camp, the camp I'm near! 5CKM3 get the-our target, XD come to my position!
"Roger that," XD said.

   I started up the car and drove out of the brush. I had to bust a move to avoid ramming John but I got around him and darted for the camp. As soon as I saw the camp in my windshield the machine guns on the wall fired at me, and I fired a grenade back. Well, I would have if I didn't just notice that Nattyfrank had emptied his grenade launcher. I drove past the camp and switched to the rubber balls, then drove back and fired on the gunners. Sadly the rubber balls did little to stop the hail of bullets from being fired. I was left with one option, and I didn't like it.

   I activated the car's flight mode, turning the tires into thrusters. I vaulted over the camps wall, and then some. I deactivated the thrusters and started to fall, then reactivated them, slowing my fall until I reached a stop on the ground on the other side of the gate. I unleash a hail of rubber balls on a machine gun on the wall from behind, knocking the gunner over the wall. I then turned my gun on the guards on top of Nattyfrank, making them drop their weapons and giving Nattyfrank (who was still alive, thank god) time to reach me and enter the passenger seat.

   "You crazy-"
"Not now!" I shouted. "XD, where's that support?"
"Less than a minute away, hang tight!"
"Pull off! Turn around!" I threw the car into the air and flew over the wall, landing on the 55.
"CKM, where's our target?" I threw the car into full speed heading south.
"I got him, he's a tiny bit south of you." I saw 5CKM3's car and John with his hands in the air ahead of me. I stopped the car dead, lurching me and Nattyfrank forward.
"XD, meet us here. Natty, take the car, I'm going for mine." I got out of the car, and ran into the brush. I could hear a loud siren from the camp behind me.

   My car was still there, and I quickly entered the driver's seat. I drove out of the brush back onto the highway and stopped next to John. I opened the door and yelled out "Get in!" John was quick to comply, entering the passenger seat.
"You people are insane!" John shouted.
"Please, not now. XD where are you?"
"Pulling up behind you right now,"
"We got clunkers coming from the camp!" Nattyfrank said. Sure enough I saw five clunkers driving toward us in my windshield.
"EMP grenades!" I shouted into the comm. The response was a total of nine grenades, one of them mine stopping and doing minor damage to the clunkers.
"Fall back!" I shouted. "Everyone fall back!"

   There were no complaints. The cars all bolted further south with the clunkers left in the dust, though the guns attached still fired on our rear. I emptied the last of my grenades into the clunkers behind us to give us some cover, and then focused on the road ahead.
"How fast are we going? Is this safe?" John said.
"John, shut up. I've gone through hell trying to find you and I would like a few minutes of silent celebration."
"All right, but just so you know my name's not John."
"Well all right then, that's great. We screwed up on this operation enough already."
"What exactly is this operation?"
"This operation was getting you away from those guys that took you."
"So you guys aren't the military."
"No, we are, we just aren't the guys who know the full plan. Well, we know a lot. You know what, shut up, I'm tired and need silence."

   We drove down the highway for some time before pulling into the brush and giving the team some shut-eye. cremyjr kept "John" busy, informing him about the unit and convincing him the best he can not to murder us in our sleep. Thankfully he was successful and in the morning we all set out home. It wasn't too long a drive, less than an hour without us having to go in a search pattern as we had done before. But it was a happy drive home from a mission that we miraculously had pulled off despite everything that possibly could going wrong.
"Hey, John," I said to my passenger. "We require codenames, so you need to pick one out. You wanna do that before we get back?"
"Uh, sure." John said. He thought about it for a bit. "Put my codename in as U2M."

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