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Old 06-26-2006, 11:28 AM   #3
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Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 46
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“Who are you?” He asked, still slightly wary.
“We are a group dispatched from the Distribution of Underground Materials Base.”
“Is there a shorter word for your center?”
The maen looked sheepish. “Well. You can call it DUMB for short, but don’t tell anyone.”
Kevin allowed himself a small chuckle. “All right, you DUMB men, what are you here for, and why with no protection? Just some DUMB assignment?”
“No.” He was dead serious. “We’re here to see if you’d help us in some “DUMB” Operation.”
“I’ve got a good one.” It was Enigma, just appearing from behind Kevin. “How about a DUMB Operation is a DUMBO?”
Kevin sighed. “No, Enigma. No more puns.”
“We wear no suits because…”
“You’re DUMB?” Enigma interjected.
“All right! Enough!” A soldier aimed his gun, but Enigma was already invisible.
“Sir, you’ll have to pardon him. He has ‘Special Needs’.” Kevin fell over backwards from a sudden punch.
“Because we find we’re a lot harder to trap, especially when we’re just delivering messages.”
Kevin rose. “And what is this message?”
“We’ve run into some minor problems at the DUMB.”
“Ya think?” A voice came out of nowhere.
“Enigma,” Kevin started. “Anyway, what kind of problems?”
“About a month ago, we intercepted a radio broadcast preparing an invasion of England, which, as you know is our headquarters. Unfortunately, that very day, our only mech squadrons vanished without a trace near the Bermuda Triangle. We later learned that Human destroyers had pushed them back into the Triangle itself. All were lost.”
“Why does this concern us?” Kevin asked, still puzzled.
“We have heard of your legendary exploits, and we are trying to gather everyone we can to us in this time of need. We need you to help us, even if you aren’t as good as the legends would suggest.”
“We’re not, whatever legends you have heard. But we’ll come.”

The small band marched quickly across the ruins of Los Diablos, passing many a fallen mech on the way, evidence of the squad’s brutal killing efficiency. Finally, walking over the ruins of a small park, once known as Burton W. Chase Park, they reached Marina del Rey, where a small skiff was anchored in the shallows. The party boarded it and took of, skimming over the water at hundreds of miles per hour.
The skiff continued on until, many hours later they reached London. Again on foot, they traveled to a small town called Esher just outside of London. Their guide, who by now they had learned was called Anton, led them into an abandoned warehouse on the edge of town. They stopped and waited for the rest of their party to catch up. Anton led them into a room near the back and pulled a lever, long rusted with age. Tracing his steps back across the room, he entered a small room and knocked twice on the floor. A small panel slid open and he entered, motioning for them to follow. As they climbed down hundreds of rungs of ladder, the heat grew and grew and all but Pyro had their suits at high AC. Finally, they reached a large room. It was filled with hundreds of men, hundreds of machines, hundreds of blinking lights, and hundreds of screens. Kevin followed Anton over to a tall man standing at a computer, studying particle physics of nuclear fallout. He turned as Kevin approached.
“Ah. Kevin Heathcliffe, I presume?” the man was well-spoken with a hint of British accent.
“I am. And you?”
“I am Rodgerson, Wilf Rodgerson.”
“If I may ask, what ‘change’ prompted you to join this group?”
The man nodded. “That you may. But it is not the answer you expect. I am not a Maan, simply another human being biased against prejudice. And you?”
“I can see things before they happen. Precognition, you might call it. I could tell what you’re saying five seconds from now, but I can’t read lips.”
“Ah. And your friends?”
Kevin spent the next few minutes explaining his friends and briefing Wilf on their situations, then Wilf theirs.
“As we see it, the enemy is going to attack us one week from now, and there is nothing we can do to stop them once they’ve come.”
“What must we do?”
“But there is one thing I can not help you on. I do not know what you must do. I do know that the enemies have superior forces and armor.
“That’s great. Just great. Let me talk to my squad.” Kevin walked slowly over to the rest of his group, standing in a corner discussing something.
His group stood up straight. “Yes?” it was Pyro.
“We’ve been handed the world. If we take it, we may die. If we let it drop, then Maen may never again see the light of day.”
“With ya all the way, chief.”

“This is a G-241c. It is the peak of BioSludge pistol technology in the world today. It ha been clocked at over five hundred miles per second. It contains a shell of compressed BioSludge. If it hits a man, he’s dead within seconds.” Lieutenant Schmitt was briefing the small squad on the weapons they’d be using.
“Here’s your rifle, the A-279e. It fires compressed BioSludge bullets at a rate of about…twenty-seven slugs a second, well fast enough to kill anyone around you not wearing protective armor. If you’re really in a pinch, you can try setting the power dial up. It can slice though about three inches of titanium alloy, which is what most of the mechs you’re fighting will have. On the bottom, you’ll not we have a second trigger.” The Lieutenant motioned toward a small trigger near the bottom of the handle.
“This will be your main grenade supply. The BioWaste in here is very volatile, so use with caution and be at least 100 meters away before you fire. The max range is about 500 meters, so I don’t think you’ll ever get that close.”
“Is that all we’ll be taking?” Oscar asked, obviously disappointed at the lack of weapons.
“No. You, as our BioWaste expert, will be taking several pounds of raw plutonium with a couple BioWaste triggers. Use sparingly, as they have a blast range of about one mile per pound.”
“Where do we find ‘em?” Oscar was excited.
“However, each of the rest of you also has special weapons according to your mutation. Pyro, you have a flamethrower. All it does it take your body heat and amplify it and set some kerosene on fire. Luc, here’s a couple grenades. Toss one of these into a crevasse and it will fill it with water. The catch is that in three seconds, it will implode and crush everything inside. Enigma, here’s a sword.”
“You’ve got to be joking.”
“I’m not. It can also turn invisible. It’s super-heated, so it should be able to cut through any armor they have out there.” He motioned to Kevin.
“Kevin, I’d like to speak with you alone.” Kevin followed him into a back room.
“What is this about?”
“First, here’s your gun. It’s a silenced sniper with a 400x zoom. Kills in one shot. With your precognition, nothing should avoid it.”
“Thanks. There’s something more you want to tell me than how to kill men. I already know how to.”
“You’re right. On both accounts, even.” The Lieutenant sighed. “If you fail, the world is lost. Prejudice and hate will win. If they are not removed forever, there will be more dead. The world will fall to greed and hate. It happened once. It must not happen again. Kevin, you must not fail. You cannot turn back if you lose a man, even if your entire squad dies. The world rests on your shoulders.”
Kevin Heathcliffe walked out of the door, his burden-weary shoulders sagging.

Two days, fourteen hours, fifty-two minutes. So much had to happen in so short. Kevin scanned the skies with his rifle. No sign of life…there! He zoomed…100x…200x…300x…400x…fire! One more kill.
The ground was barren for miles around, pock-marked with craters from BioWaste explosions. On a hill far beyond he could see the very top of a structure. He zoomed in on the building and looked at the top. The town of Bethune’s military processing center.
“Come in.” He keyed his radio.
“We’re receiving you.”
“Does the name Bethune mean anything?”
“Is that the town you’re approaching?”
“Good. This is their main production facility. It is also where our intelligence reports the strike is coming from. Take this out and you’re done. There are about twenty storehouses of mechs in the base.”
“Over and out.” Kevin switched off the headset.
“What’d he say?” Luc asked.
“The town ahead is our destination. Oscar, do you have the explosives?”
“Rodger, captain.” Oscar stepped to the front.
“Enigma, you go first, and infiltrate the perimeter. Signal us when you’re done.”
“As you wish.” The man disappeared and only soft crunching could be heard fading into the distance.
Only when you know you do not know do you know.
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