The NEG wanted to fuck us. They almost succeeded. The only thing I can really say on their behalf was that they at least didn’t keep us waiting around forever while the nosy nerds did their usual song and dance routine of keeping combat troops out of combat.
Of course, the fact they weren’t leaving us high and dry for months with an inch thick stack of contradictory orders was a bad sign. Probably why the cagey bastards didn’t give us any warning. Just another hastily added line item in my morning brief that we’d get another inspection today.
Except it was OIS.
Why in the hell that agency had any interest or jurisdiction over my squadron was a complete mystery. We’d all been run-ragged, shot-to-shit and then stuffed in the back of the base’s “sock drawer,” but the closest any of us come to working with unseen forces are the Engels and those are completely under the authority of the Eepie. Unless Eichenblat has been sampling the native hootch again and then you needed to avoid the latrine for the next twelve hours without MOPP gear.
But, expecting actual logic from the NEG is an exercise in futility. And the Office of Indiscriminate Slaughter tend to get petulant when folks don’t shit themselves trying to kiss their all-powerful ass last I’ve heard, so I figured the sooner we let them see they were wasting everyone’s time, the sooner I could get this dogs breakfast hammered back into combat readiness.
Why the fuck does every human associated with an Agency share a closet? Do they honestly think they’re fooling observers with their dark suits and plastic smiles? She’d be less obvious and a whole lot more trustworthy in a long leather coat with a double lightning bolt at the collar. But I played gracious host. Even gave her the use of my office.
My interview was quick. Damn near pro forma. Just a lot of questions asking if any of my squadron were security threats couched in patronizing concern and bald-faced lies about confidentiality and her interest in helping. All but three of the unit are reconnaissance trained pilots, our stock-and-trade is going and looking where people don’t want us to be. She had to know that. The fucking boots fresh off the bus knew that. Except we both knew she was on a witch-hunt to justify the fuck-up in sending her out to evaluate a bunch of recovering personnel and the Eepie’s super-secret duo. Akany did have that period of being spooky, but the fucking war-wizards said she was good when we hit the column. Who knows, maybe the bitch had to lay eyes on her before kicking the file closed. Whatever.
So I left her to do whatever the fuck she was going to do so I’d never have to look at her carefully cheerful face ever again.
I assumed the stupid bitch knew what she was doing. She was going to destroy a day of getting any work accomplished and leave morale in shambles, but that was a given when I&I said we’d have a visitor. I did not expect her to single-handedly try to destroy my entire command.
She managed to make Akany come unglued. Not a hard accomplishment, but one more problem she was going to leave me to clean up in her wake. She brought the MP’s in to brace my door for her
interrogation interview. Guess she’d decided who her scape-goat was going to be.
Then she managed to put cracks in the German ice-queen. Talent since the only other times I’ve seen Chapel’s composure slip has been while poking around the aftermath of the Rapine Storm. I sent her on a beer run… on de la Cruz’s tab. It was only fair.
I hadn’t been too worried when she’d wanted to interview the “class pets.” Why should I? Up until then everyone had slammed face first into classified fire-wall and been forced to back away. Except Jeong appears to be Pandora’s damned box in a perky candy shell and little miss “I-Walk-On-Water-And-Can-Do-No-Wrong” found a way to flip the latch.
The whole damned universe went rodeo.
I admit I’d been getting increasingly steamed by her smug secrecy and high-handedness up until now, but that seriously pissed me off. She’d made Jeong cry. Jeong doesn’t do somber let a fucking lone sadness. Hopscotch may have been ten tons of crazy in a five pound bag, but they’d assured me she could fight. Until someone else signs for her, she’s nominally mine and I’m way too short of bodies for some stuck-up bitch to be breaking any of my pilots out of perverse boredom! And it only got better. Hopscotch has some sort of long-distance link to her Engel! One of those pesky little details no one is allowed to know, because what’s the worst that can happen with Tarshish thinking for itself?! It’s not like it can tear through anyone or thing in its path if it decides to. It was nothing short of a miracle that Wash-out happened to be there to lock it down when it went “Frankenstein’s monster” on us.
Then I get Akany and Nadel escorted back into the barracks by the MP’s in handcuffs. Chapel looks beat to shit. Akany had to pick this day and hour to get stopped by the MP’s. Nadel had to pick today to start a brawl with the MP’s. Insult to injury, she’d only taken out four of them in the scuffle.
Yes I yelled. I did not have time to deal with their happy goat-shit on top of everything else. I needed to get to the bottom of what the fuck that OIS bitch thought she was doing to my people, not to mention the infuriated Engel she’d damn near loosed on the base.
Which was about the time the unlucky MP sergeant decided to follow the orders of the power-mad flying monkey in what remained of my office. She was out of control. Dangerously. It was the last straw. I was not going to leave my people helpless to the tender mercies of her lacking judgement. I had a duty to preserve lives.
I didn’t enjoy placing the muzzle of my sidearm to the sergeant’s forehead, but no one was giving me any alternatives. He didn’t resist when I took his rifle.
I’d like to think it was one too many boots to the head that caused Nadel to tackle the man I had at gunpoint, but I suppose she was on a roll for making my day more complicated.
Akany charged one of his other men at least. Which left one highly alarmed MP witnessing what would be a cop’s worst nightmare. He was bringing up his rifle. So I shot him. Center mass. Hopefully in the trauma plate so he’d go down without dying.
This brought de la Cruz out of my office to bark out more panicked orders like it would put her back in control of the whole situation she’d provoked. I wanted the MP’s out. She wanted total surrender. It was an impasse until someone higher up her food-chain called. She went completely hands-off the casualty and left. Not a good omen, but it gave me a little more breathing room. We got the MP’s cleared out and their buddy headed to the medics too.
Eichenblat had Jeong playing jacks. I had to assume he had her under control for the moment.
Not that it really mattered in the end. I’d forced personnel out of my barracks at gunpoint and fired upon an MP in the execution of his duties. They’d be conducting a full breech any moment. No one argued when I passed the order to make sure all the weapons were well out of reach. We’d fought for them, but all they’d do now would give the entry teams justification to shoot. When they executed us to cover her incompetence, we wouldn’t make it easy for them to pretend it wasn’t murder to let the OIS save face.
They didn’t breech.
They sent the arrogant bitch back in, swaddled in body armor and slinging a full-auto carbine of course, along with some human so deep in the system he no longer felt the need to press his suit.
I should’ve just rigged the door to blow and sat on a grenade.
I’ve had to sell my soul to the devil because no one could bother to tell me their actual concerns about 2LT Akany so I could get her to the help she needed. Every fucking office has to play their stupid masturbatory games of “you don’t get to know” until someone dies for it. No wonder the Storm managed to break across the kill zone, the Agencies are so jealous of their secrets no one on the line was probably deemed as ‘“needing to know.” Speaking of, I still don’t get to know what sort of mad scientist nightmare Hopscotch and Babysitter truly represent, only that it makes the OIS soil itself.
We are fucked.
We are the damned.