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Omicron City - Lines
Wed Oct 13, 2010 6:18pm

Aurora sank into her seat in the back of the van, as Targe drove them all back to the headquarters. After they had finished off the interlopers, she had used some of her magical power to help clean up the mess. Using simple spells she simply wiped the blood and gore clean while Chobham and Cover took each body, weighed them down with rocks and threw them into the harbor. John's goons seemed decidely less talkative and kept out of the way of the mercenaries as they did their job. Aurora even managed to mend the bullet holes in the sides of the warehouses.

"Job well done." Cover said, with a nod, as he leaned back in his seat. "That bonus will come in handy."

Chobham nodded beside Aurora before Cover turned over his shoulder, "You did good work, Aurora. You must have been doing this longer than I had thought."

Aurora laughed awkwardly, "Yeah. Long time."

Chobham quirked a brow and Cover frowned, "Well, good work anyway. If we keep this up, I don't think we'll have any money troubles to worry about in the near future. Always someone new to kill."


Aurora sat with her knees clutched to her chest in the dim light of the warehouse, the light above flickering every now and then. The stale air hung around her, mingled with the smells of gunpowder and ozone from the plasma rounds that still lingered in her hair. In front of her, on the table, was her gear for the evening, freshly cleaned.

I killed ten people today. She told herself for the umpteenth time that night, They were just like me. People who were trying to make a living killing. It could have been me that had taken those plasma rounds to the head.

The sheer immensity of her own mortality began to weigh on her. All of a sudden, she understood why people like Zeo or Kail ended up the way they did; barely a shred of the compassion or humanity that they had been gifted with left. If she had hesitated today, it might have been her on the end of a knife. Is... Is this something I can keep doing?

"...Somehow, I thought I might find you here." Cover's voice floated to her.

She hastily wiped at tears she hadn't remembered shedding. "Y,yeah... I'm not ready to go hit the recharge station yet." She lied.

Cover walked around the table and looked down towards her on the couch, silently considering his words.

She looked up at him and before he could speak, she asked, "How long have you been a mercenary?"

Cover quirked a brow, "Mercenary or fighting for a living?" He asked.


He smirked before dragging a chair over and sitting on it in reverse. "The three of us were all Hunters back in the day. We've been fighting all our lives, probably about twenty years. We've only been mercenaries the last month or so though."

She blinked, "You were Hunters?"

He nodded, "Yeah. Defenders of peace, order and humanity." He said with no small amount of bitterness.

"What happened?" She asked, hugging her knees just a little bit closer to herself.

"It's a long story. To make it short, there are lines that we crossed and we all decided that it was no longer to our liking."

Aurora blinked, not sure how to respond. Cover met her gaze unblinkingly and it almost scared her. Finally she said, "Tell me the story."

Cover sighed, a forlorn smile tugging on his lips, "Alright. It started like any other mission..."


"-uad 3, do you read? What is your situation?" Buzzed Cover's comm unit. He cradled his buster rifle against his chest as Vambrace, in her yellow armor, worked dilligently at setting the explosives. They were about to blow a hole in the wall of a mad reploid scientist, Dr. Rise, who was supposedly kidnapping children and committing unknwon experiments. Their job was to take the mad man down.

Cover keyed his comm unit, "We're in position. We'll blow the hatch in two minutes."

"Roger. Targe is o- --ndby for extra--ion. Go-- luck." Buzzed the weak comm signal back at him. He looked over towards Chobham who had his rifle slung behind his back and his buster pistol in his hand. They nodded to each other, ready to storm this mad-man's facility.

Vambrace said, "Alright. It's ready."

Cover nodded, "Good. Let's get clear, then blow it."

A minute later, the Negron-16 detonated and rocked the bunker. A hole the size of a truck remained and the three Hunters darted into the facility. Their enhanced optics allowed them to easily see through the smoke and haze and the sight on the otherside of the wall sickened them.

"Ah. I see the Hunters have finally caught up with me." Came the sadistic voice of Dr. Rise, "You don't understand just how important my research is. With this, even humans will be able to receive the gift of Sigma's presence!"

Arrayed in front of them were a dozen children with a heavy metal helmet on each. Their eyes looked dead in the pale light. So shocked at the sight the three reploids barely registered as the young humans apathetically lifted guns of a variety of sizes towards them. "Watch out!" Cover yelled, before jumping behind the nearest cover he could find.

The low caliber fire bounced loudly off the heavy crates and equipment. Behind them, the doctor darted into a secret door trying to make good his escape.

"What do we do!? He's getting away!" Vambrace yelled over the torrent of fire.

"...We don't have any choice." He flipped the switch of his rifle over to automatic fire mode.

"W,wait! Those are children! We can still save them!" Vambrace exclaimed in shock.

"We don't know that and if we let him get away, he'll only do it to more." Cover said with no shortage of bitterness in his voice.

"We can't!" Vambrace protested.

"Then you stay down. That's an order." Cover quickly shifted over his cover and braced his rifle on the top of the crate. With a squeeze, he unleashed a wave of plasma into the children. Their flesh blew apart in gory erruptions under the plasma's kiss. Beside him, Chobham joined him and used accurate pistol fire to blow through the metal helmets into the young brains behind them. In a few short minutes, the veteran soldiers had slaughtered all of the children.

Vambrace peeked over the crate to see the gory mess. "N,no... T,they're all..."

Cover's mind shut off and the soldier kicked in, "Chobham. Let's go."

The two reploids left their shocked comrade behind as they sprinted after the doctor. After two twisting cooridors, she shot out on to the catwalk over seeing a vast underground cavern. Below, hundreds of children milled in what was effectively a tiny boot camp. Each one wore the same helmet that the others they had just killed wore however none of them were armed. "God..." Cover muttered under his breath.

"There!" Chobham yelled, and pointed. In the center of the facility was a massive terminal ring.

At the center of the ring, the mad scientist was making a grand display of clicking a large red button. "With this, my lord Sigma shall find solace in the flesh of every human or reploid on Earth!"

Cover lifted his rifle, desparately trying to bring the muzzle in line. His cross-hairs settled on Dr. Rise's back just as he pressed the large red button. His trigger finger squeezed and the plasma round smashed through the reploid's spine to errupt in his innards. Circulatory fluid and servos spilled out as the massive computer began blinking "Transmission complete."

"Squ-d 3, S-uad-! Do yo--ead!? We'v-- just det--cted a mas--ve data surg-!"

Cover sword under his breath before turning to Chobham, "Let's get out of here."

Just as they were about to head back the direction they came, a door slammed down in place. "Shit!" Cover yelled, "Let's find another way."

Cover keyed his comm, "Vambrace. Come in, Vambrace. Do you read? We are outbound for extraction."

"O... Okay." Came a still shocked voice, "W,whatever you say."


"Squad 3, this is Eagle 3. Are you ready for extraction?" Targe repeated into the comm unit.

"This is Cover, acknoledged and affirmative. Transmitting coordinates." Came Cover's voice over the comm unit. Targe sighed audibly before the location popped up on his HUDD. He began his descent towards them. "Is Vambrace already aborad?"

Targe blinked, "No. She isn't with you?"

"No. She must still be in the facility. I'll go back the way we came and-"

"Belay that, Cover. We need targetting coordinates on that facility now." Came the voice of Squad 3's dispatcher and commander.

"...What?! Sir, there's hundreds of children still in there and part of my squad is still inside!"

"That data surge is threatening to overwhelm our defense grids. If it gets out, it could infect every reploid on the continent. If we don't stop it now, we could be looking at complete and total infection of the Protectorate."

"But sir!"

"Cover, I need targetting coordinates or I will be forced to nuke the entire area."

Targe slowed the extraction ship in front of Cover and Chobham, who climbed aboard. "Sir... I..." Cover looked like he was about to throw up, "Understood. Targe, take us to five thousand feet."

"But Vambrace is..."

"We don't have a choice."

"You have thirty seconds, Squad 3. I'm sorry."

Cover turned and kneeled by the side of the extraction ship as Targe floated the vehicle high enough to be able to avoid the destruction the oribital lasers would cause. Pointing his rifle down towards the facility, he flicked his rifle's targetting lasers into place and centered the laser targetter directly on the center of the facility.

In a few moments, the white fury of the oribital lasers shot down through space to pierce the bunker's top. Moments later, the entire facility errupted in brilliant fire and acrid smoke.


Auroa was struck dumb as Cover finished his story.

"Once you cross some lines, you simply can't go back. A part of us died with Vambrace and all those children that day." He said, "Now, we're choosing who we save and who we kill. The Papaceno family is dumping drugs and weapons into the streets of this city. John's crime racket is hardly benign but they still stick to the old traditions of protecting the people who live here. They aren't pushing Rapid or SystemCrash on the playgrounds."

Aurora nodded quietly. Could I have been so strong as to pull the trigger that killed my friends?


In some deep, ugly pit of a factory haggrid yellow armor adorned a slumped figure. The figure shifted unsteadily across the abandoned factory floor towards a long forgotten recharge capsule once used by the workers of the factory. It had been a year since the dull, lifeless eyes had last shone with a brilliance of spirit. "A few more days, my child... A few more days." She muttered.

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