Xcom Story Part 3: A Change of Hart
Chapter 1: So, That Just Happened
I woke up with a massive headache. Looking around, I could see a light from the door, but not just any light, flames. I tried getting up, but the binds on my hands and legs kept me glued to the chair. Just as I was thinking I was gonna spend the rest of my days down here, I saw a shadow appear at the door. The from walked down and noticed it was my commander, Jet Sunstrider.
“What… what happened?” I moaned as we cut the binds and helped me up.
“You tell me. One moment, you told me you had my brother Jax, and the next I’m hearing reports of explosions in the area. I got a small squad and came here as fast as I could, but looks like the damage has already been done.” Jet replied, supporting me as we walked up above ground.
“I… I can’t remember.” I held my head. It felt like someone was taking the blunt end of an arc blade and shocking me over and over again.
“Alright, let’s just go back to HQ so you can get some rest. When you feel better, we can hopefully unfold what happened here. I’ll send a cleanup/rebuilding crew down here later to fix this up.” Jet helped me over to the Skyranger. Before long, I was back taking a nap in the AWC trying to get my head straight.
As I was recovering, Warden came by to check up on me. She’s the combat hacker of the squad. Her gremlen can reprogram a Sectopod jund under twenty seconds.
“How you feeling kid?” She asked leaning on the armrest of my bed.
“As good as I can be.” I replied.
“Well, hopefully you feel better soon. I heard about your party at the Blacksite. Your skills are amazing!” Warden said, smiling.
“Thanks, I guess.” My head was still pounding. I could barely think straight.
“Well, you still must be really tired. I’ll head on out. Just wanted to check up on our MVP.” Warden walked out and I was once more alone, just trying to remember what on earth happened at the outpost.
Chapter 2: Mistakes Were Made
About a week later, I was out of the AWC and almost mission ready one more. Jet as already gotten enough info out of me to send another scout squad down to the Advent Blacksite. I still can’t believe they outplayed me. I had Shields against the ropes, ready to spill everything his traitorous head of his held. But that stupid skeleton Sans had to show up and also break my arm bone. No pun intended. Regardless, I was making my way down to the mess hall when Jasina, the stupid Psi Op with an ego bigger than a Sectopod came waltzing up besides me.
“Soooooooooooo sweetheart, how you been?” he tried wrapping his arm around me, but I pushed back.
“Call me that again, and I rip your eyes out.” I spat in his face. Jasina is always an asshole, thinking he’s the king of the world just cause he is the highest ranking Psi Op besides Mich from Menace 6-8. He rolled his eyes.
“Come on, you must be tired. If you come with me, I’m gonna rock your mind!” He nudged me, I jaded him with my elbow.
“Try that again, I DARE YOU.” I looked him straight in the eye and could see a small ball of sweat draw down his cheek. This time, he tried to grab my arm. Out of instinct I grabbed his arm with my free hand, twisted it, knocked him to the ground and held my sword to his throat. It did not take me long to realize what I was doing and to release him. Shuddering, I tried to apologize.
“I… ugh,, sorry! Sorry! Just ugh, I’ve been though a lot recently and I’m a little.. Ugh on edge and you just grabbing me like that… ugh…” I tried my best but it was no use. Jasina got up, eyes glowing with psionic rage he brought out his Psi amp, charged a ability and blasted me with what seemed to be a weaker null lance. This time, I was triggered. Standing up, I grew a Psi ball in my hands. I still remembered some of my old training before I was frozen after the original invasion. We locked eyes, knowing that now we mean business.
Chapter 3: Psi Dual
I charged a void rift and launched it at Jasina. He side stepped just outside the area and null lanced me again, this time at full power. I managed to dash to the left and it blew a hole in the side of the wall, sending rubble to the trainees below. Luckily, it sounded like no one was hurt. I tried to throw a stasis orb at him but he launched a weaker null lance, blasting right through my orb and hitting me in the chest. I flew backwards and landed with a hard thump on the wall, inches away from the hole in the wall. I got up, still stunned. I drew my sword and started Jasina down.
“Enough mind games!” I shouted and charged him. He tried drawing a pistol but before I could reach him the rest of Menace 6-8 charged in. I managed to strike Jasina in the chest right as Much put us both on stasis.
“What on earth is going on here!!??” Mich yelled.
“Oh boy, this is just great.” Meme facepalmed.
“Just wait until Jet hears about this, you both are gonna get it now.” Axx muttred.
“Oh wait, Jasina is hurt! Mich take him off stasis for a second.” Black rushed to Jasina as he flopped over, bleeding. He gave me a look as he analyzed his wounds. “He’s bleeding pretty bad, someone help me carry him to the AWC.” Warden ran over to help Black carry Jasina to the AWC. Mich came behind me, took me off stasis but grabbed me before I do say anything.
“What are you doing?” I asked, struggling. Mich then put handcuffs on me.
“You may of just killed a fellow soldier, and until we get the full story we can’t trust you.” Mich started walking me towards Jet’s office.
“Ok, you deal with her and I’ll get a engi team here to fix this hole.” Meme said to Mich, kicking around some rubble. I knew I was in the right here, Jasina grabbed at me first after I gave plenty of warning. I’m sure Jet will have my side in all this.
Chapter 4: Problems Boil
After a long, silent walk across the facility, Mich kicked open the door to Jet’s main office, he jumped and then got confused at what he saw. Mich sat me down and leaned against the wall right besides the door.
“What on earth just happened?” Jet almost shouted, standing up.
“Kayla and Jasina just had a fight just outside the AWC, Jasina is badly injured.” Mich explained. Jet walked over to me and took the handcuffs off and slowly walked back to his deck, rubbing his chin.
“Mich, you're dismissed. Kayla, what happened?” Jet waved Mich off. She left, slamming the door behind her.
“You have to believe me, Jasina was pissing me off and then he tried grabbing me. I pinned him down, I admit but I quickly retracting myself. I tried apologising but it would not work, ne null lanced me and just went to hell from there!” I explained the best I could.
“Whoa, whoa… calm down. After we get the results back we can go from there. But whatever happens, I am NOT firing you, your our best ranger, and a good friend.” Jet reassured me. Just then someone knocked on the door.
“Yeah, it’s open.” Jet said. Warden walked in.
“Guys, it’s Jasina. He did not make it. A major artery was cut. He practically bleed to death as soon as stasis wore off.” Warden slowly muttred.
“Alright, thanks Warden. Dismissed.” Jet respond. Warden left the room.
“Still gonna fire me?” I asked.
“No, I will give you a temporary leave. That is the best I can give you. Two mountes out of action, then you will have to take a retraining course. I’m sorry, but it is the best I can do for you, considering the conditions.” Jet said.
“Well, I guess I really don’t have a choice.” I replied.
“Unless you want the jail option, no you don’t. I’ll get the documents ready for you. And I also have to find a replacement to fill your spot until you come back.” Jet started typing stuff, but I got a bit triggered by that last bit.
“Wait… did you say replace me?” I grunted a bit.
“No, not like you think. It’s a temporary replacement. Gotta keep the spot filled somehow.” Jet explained. I admit, maybe this was partly my fault, but in my current state of mind I thought he meant permanently replace me.
“How.. could YOU REPLACE ME LIKE THAT!” I shouted, drew my sword and charged. Jet. Worst mistake of my life. Jet side stepped and I ran right at the wall. I turned around but before I could do anything Jet had a Mag-LMG right at my chest and four turrets came down from the roof.
“Ok, maybe I do have to replace you. I’ll give you once chance to walk away peacefully. ONE STEP and I GUN. YOU. DOWN.” Jet had a look of pure hatred on his face. I decided I did not need this crap. I smashed the window and using my advanced muscle fiber density gene mod landed with a loud thump. Not looking back once, I ran for the woods. Xcom search teams following me in. Guess I’m on my own now.
Chapter 5: An Unexpected Friendship
I dived behind a tree just as a Xcom squad rushed by. They stopped in a small clearing just ahead and I managed to get a good look at the squad leader, Axx.
“Ah hell wer’d she go?” He asked, turning around. I don’t wanna kill any of the main squad, I’m really just pissed at Jet right now.
“She could not of gotten far.” One of them, a rookie said. He started walking north with another ranger as Axx stayed with a heavy. I have to find a way to get past them. I picked up a rock and threw it as hard as I could to the west. Axx immediately rushed over towards it with the heavy. I waited a few minutes to make sure no other squads were coming and stepped into the clearing. I could still hear Xcom search squads in the distance. I had to find a place to hunker down for the night before finding a new permanent home. I heard rustling behind me and turned around, drawing my sword. I took a moment to notice it was none other than Shields. The lazy, annoying Advent Shieldbearer from the Advent Training Blacksite not far from here.
“Agh!” Shields jumped, activated his shielding ability and stood there, expecting me to attack him. But I didn't. It took him a second to open his eyes and kinda semi relax, looking confused.
“Really?” I said, rolling my eyes.
“Ugh… hi?” Shields deactivated his shield and lowered his rifle, keeping his finger on the trigger. “Why haven't you tried to cut my face off yet? And what’s with Xcom’s heavy presence here anyway?” He asked.
“Well, first of all, they're after me. There was some ah… complications and they don’t like me no more.” I replied. Shields looked at me funny.
“Wait, what? You mean you kinda quit Xcom?” Shields holstered his weapon, looking even more confused.
“Yes, they tried to mistreat me and I left. Simple as that. And don’t go thinking we are suddenly friends because of it, I just have a new enemy now.” I replied.
“Interesting… anyway I guess I don’t have to capture you again.” Shields laughed.
“Wait… so you're not gonna try to turn me to Xcom? I’m sure they would appreciate it.” I asked.
“Why would I help Xcom? Listen, you're not with them anymore, so I don’t have to care about what you do. Hell, more to the Arctic, I don’t care. Capturing you again would mean I’m helping them find you. I’m not that dumb.” Shields replied, waving me off. “I’ll try to tell my friends back at the blacksite that we don’t have to worry about you, maybe that could help you survive out here.” Shields said, running back towards the blacksite.
“Ugh… thanks I guess.” I stood there scratching my head.
“Don’t mention it. No really, don’t. And try to keep a connection to the radio, I might have something for you soon.” Shields replied, disappearing behind the treeline. I stood there, wondering if I could trust him. But first, I need to find somewhere safe to hide out.
Chapter 6: On My Own
I ended up finding a nice clearing far south of the Xcom HQ. I decided to hunker down here for now, make a small camp and think about ways of getting back at Xcom for mistreating me. I took note of the aera, scanning around remembering the terrain and area so I don’t get lost. I have a good spot, now I just need material to set up the camp. There is still a lot of wildlife in the area, maybe if I hunted down some deer I could use their skin to make a tent. Gotta start somewhere, I guess. I picked up a rock and started shaping my sword with it, trying to come up with a route to take for my first hunting trip. Then I noticed a small, almost pre made trail leading around the left side of the clearing. I threw the rock away and started heading through the woods.
It did not take me long to find a small group of deer, at least three, wandering a field just outside the treeline. I could just make out the towers and walls of the Advent Blacksite a few miles to my right, but I knew I was way out of range. I moved up on the deer, staying downwind and moving slowly. Then, I got a straight shot at one of them behind a rock. I went for my weapon and noticed I left my shard gun at Xcom HQ. No matter, my sword would be a cleaner kill, and leave more meat and skin undamaged. I grabbed my sword by the blade, like a throwing knife, lined up the shot and threw it, nailing a deer straight through the neck. A quick and clean kill. The rest scattered and ran into the forest. I approached my kill and took my knife back, causing a puddle of blood to expand, encasing my feet. I grabbed the dead animal and heaved it over my shoulder, making my way back to camp.
Along the way back, I managed to tag one extra deer, giving me enough material to craft a simple tent as well as enough food to last me a couple of weeks. Although I’d prefer viper meat, it is good enough. I also found a collection of small rocks and some sticks to build a campfire, and I spotted a river that cuts the forest in half a few meters east, giveing me a source of water. So now I have all the essentials for surviving, I could finally rest. After a good meal of deer and boiled water, I huddled in my tent for the night. It did not take me long to fall asleep, wondering what life will throw at me next.
Chapter 7: The Enemy of My Enemy...
I woke up to the sound of rustling within the bushes, slowly getting up I grabbed my sword and quickly jumped out at whatever it was, but there was nothing there. I scanned the area, keeping a sharp glare at the forest behind, but then I noticed that my radio was buzzing besides my tent. After a quick walk around the general area near my camp, I picked up the radio.
“Yeah? Who’s this?” I asked. It took a little bit to get a response.
“Hey, it’s Shields. Listen, remember when I told you I might have something for you yesterday when you were hiding from Xcom?” Shields’s voice crackled through the radio.
“Maybe, what the hell might you have that I want.” I responded.
“Well, you're alone now, right? The Blacksite may of caught wind of a smugglers route that cuts across the forest into Western US that might just be able to help you.” Shields explained that Advent recon drones captured footage of the smugglers and managed to draw a map of what they suspect to be there route.
“How am I supposed to trust you?” I snapped.
“Funny you should ask, have you ever heard the saying that the enemy of my enemy, is my friend?” Shields responded.
“I have, but that don’t make me fully trust you.” I said.
“Maybe because you're being cautious because your on your own? Listen, I’m just throwing it out there.” Shields responded, making a good point.
“Fine. But I’m not going to your base, let’s meet somewhere in the forest, you know the place just outside those old native huts right?” I responded, remembering a camp that used to belong to the First Nations until they disappeared soon after Advent came into power.
“Yes, I seen it on a patrol just last week.” Shields said.
“Ok, come alone, or else you're DEAD.” I snapped a bit.
“Yeah yeah, I’ll be there in about 15-20 minutes. It’s not that far.” Shields ended the connection. I still had a bad feeling about this, but this is the best I got.
About half an hour later, I was still waiting. Sharpening my sword with a rock, scanning the horizon. I heard something from behind me, but though it was just more wildlife, but then it started getting louder.
“HEY! Behind you!” I instantly turned around and took a swing. I heard a loud THUD of my fist slamming into Shield’s armor.
“Jesus, sorry. You scared me.” I stepped back.
“Eh, it’s fine. That’s why armor exists.” Shields readjusted his shoulder pad. “Anyway, how you wanna do this? Data transfer?” Shields took out a data pad. Then I remembered something.
“Aww hell, I left mine at Xcom HQ.” I said.
“Eh, no problem, you can just have it then. There’s nothing else on it.” Shields handed the pad to be, and I say the route he was talking about and a picture of some beaten up looking guy. “The guys name is Jacob Drax, he runs the show.” Shields added.
“Ok, anything else?” I asked, throwing the data pad in my tent.
“There are 20 people in total, about 5 of them are Ex-Xcom, the rest are small time hoodlums.” Shields replied.
“Ex-Xcom eh, did they leave for the same reasons I did?” I raised an eyebrow.
“I don’t know, you’d have to ask Drax. That’s just what he told be when we captured him once.” Shields replied.
“Ok, thanks. Wait, why are you helping me again?” I asked.
“Cause why not? Not like you can call those Xcom nut jobs to capture me again.” Shields laughed.
“Fine fair enough. Who says you're not gonna try anything?” I asked.
“Cause I came unarmed.” Shields said.
“I have my sword still.” I said.
“Fine…” Shields opened his leg armor, revealing a hidden holster with a mag pistol inside.
“Anyway, thanks again.” I smiled a bit.
“Yeah, no problem.” Shields started walking away, then I noticed something in the trees.
Chapter 8: ...Is my Friend
“Wait... !” Shields turned to look where I was pointing just in time for a sniper shot to wiss by his ear. He jumped, dived behind a tree and drew is mag pistol. Suddenly, three Xcom ops game charging out of the tree line in front of us. I got into cover but I was practically useless at range, having lost my shard gun. But Shields was taking potshots at the soldiers, and despite being Advent trained, he was not half bad. He nailed the first guy, a heavy straight in the chest with a couple of shots. He went down, his blood sinking into the ground. The rookie sprayed a barrage at shields, hitting him in the side but his armor held up, not doing any real damage. He activated his shielding ability and it took me a second to notice I was also shielded. I took this advantage and charged the rookie, digging my sword in his neck, almost decapitating him. I quickly ducked behind cover as another sniper shot flew by.
“AGH! Were pinned down!” I shouted to Shields as a barrage of bullets flew past me, I peacked my cover and noticed another heavy was suppressing us.
“I’ll draw his fire, try to flank around!” Shields shouted back. I had an idea. With Shields being a distraction, I disappeared into the woods. Bobbing and weaving around trees, about a minute later I appeared behind the Xcom forces and jumped at the Heavy, stabbing his multiple times in the back. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw the sniper get gunned down. Wiping the dirt and blood off my armor, I walked up to Shields, who was scanning the treeline for any more of them. When it was all clear he turned to face me.
“So, that just happened.” Shields chuckled a bit.
“Yeah, anyway, you wanna get a bite to eat before you head on back to your Blacksite?” I asked. Shields looked at me funny, then relaxed.
“Oh fire, and no viper meat! And you better not poison me!!” Shields snapped.
“No, no you’ll be fine. Come on, I have a camp nearby.” I waved Shields to follow, and we walked back to my camp. He had no idea I pre cooked some viper meat before the meeting.
Chapter 9: The Great Food Prank
By the time we got back to my camp, it was getting dark. As I was lighting a fire, Shields went to search the area to make sure no Xcom spies were in the area. When we got back, I already had a “beef” burger and some pasta waiting.
“Ok, we are all clear.” Shields said sitting down, placing his Mag Pistol next to my tent. I passed him the burger.
“Oh don’t worry, it’s not viper.” I assured him, even though it was totally viper meat. I can’t wait to see his reaction when I brake it to him. He downed the burger and pasta like it was water. And a few minutes later, we were both full.
“Wow, you ate it all. How’s the pasta?” I asked, starting to laugh.
“Who do you think I am? Papyrus? It’s fine, you're a really good cook, did ya know that?” Shields replied, getting ready to leave.
“Thanks, you really like VIPER then, eh?” Shields gave me a look.
“You… clever bastard!” Shields stomped his foot.
“You LIKED IT!” I busted out laughing. Shields just crossed his arms and gave me a look, trying not to laugh himself.
“I guess you try something new everyday I guess. Anyway I should get back to the blacksite before Sans short cuts me there, or the Gatekeeper comes looking for me.” Shields got up.
“Ok, ok fine.” I said, still laughing.
“Anyway, good luck out here, catch ya around.” Shields started walking off but I noticed his pistol still sitting next to the tent.
“Oh hey wai- ah, he’s already gone.” I placed the pistol inside the tent on a makeshift table that was really just a tree stump. I sat there going over what happened, I was actually getting along with a Advent soldier. Who knew, but I guess quitting Xcom gave Advent a change to at least not have us shooting each other. Regardless, I opened the data pad and started going over the info.
Chapter 10: Road Trip
Apparently the smugglers are held up in a old supermarked in a small town abandoned after Advent took over. The bad news it that it was all the way in Western Canada, and I’m still in Mexico. The good news is that there is no major Advent or Xcom presence in the area in and around the town. Regardless, I had to get moving, the sun was just going down too. Perfect, as I could use the cover of darkness to avoid getting spotted, for the first part of the trip at least. I know this is gonna take me at least a week, if not more to get from Mexico to Canada.
The only thing I could think about is running. Dodging through trees, as well as Xcom and Advent patrols. Just before I thought it could not get any worse, I walked up to the edge of a massive river with no bridge or end to it in sight.
“That’s just great…” I mumbled to myself. But as I was thinking which direction to follow the river, I heard a faint rumbling, like a engine. I looked up stream of the river and saw a Advent patrol boat in the distance. Maybe, if I time it right, I could jump on the boat, take it over, and use it to cross the river. The only problem is that it is a fast moving object. But before I could think of a plan, the boat drove past but before it got out of sight, it turned back around and shined a bright search light in my eyes. I heard shouting from the boat that certainly was not English and before I knew it, I was getting shot at. A few shots landed just as my feet as I made a run for the nearest cover. I dived into what looked like an old lookout cabin.
“AGH! Fan out and find the Xcom rat! Promotion for the one who brings it to me, dead or alive!” I heard a gruff, barely understandable voice shouting. I guess some Advent soldiers really do speak English. Shields does not count as he is an actual human, and not a genetically modified alien soldier. I heard footsteps just outside the cabin. Drawing my sword, I waited for them to either pass by or walk in. The footsteps got louder as one of the soldiers booted open the door and I threw my sword at him, nailing him in the gut and he fell over. I quickly ran over, but before I could get my sword back I saw more of them running over. I looked around and picked the soldiers Mag Rifle and ran back into the cabin and took cover behind a wall.
“She’s over here!” I head one of them shouting outside. I swore under my breath and cheeked the charge on the rifle, I had enough ammo to stand my ground for at least a few minutes if necessary. I heard more footsteps and peaked out of cover, almost getting my head shot off. I dashed out and sprayed a few shots down range, hitting one of the soldiers in the side and he went down. I made it to the door, threw the rifle away and got my sword back. I runshed a officer and ramed the sword deep in his chest. Pushing the corpse off the blade I made a mad dash for the boat, hoping it was still there. I got to the river and leaped onto one of the Advent boats and started to make my way down stream.
I looked behind me and at least two more Advent boats were chasing me, lights flashing. I don’t know if they were emergy lights or they were just trying to blind me. One of the boats fired at me and one shot nailed my boat's engine. It started to spark and smoke rose and I knew that it was time to abandon ship. Looking back down the river ahead of me, and I noticed a makeshift dock ahead of me. I had to time this right. I let go of the controllers, managed to bumble my way to the front of the boat. The dock was coming up and I got ready to jump. But right as I jumped, the boat hit a rock and I was knocked of my angle. I landed hard in the sand with a heavy THUMP. I got up, my vision was a little blurred and I got the wind knocked outta me but for the most part nothing was broken. I saw the searchlights of the other boats and I quickly ran behind the nearest tree. I peaked out and saw the boats drive past like a blurr. I took a moment to catch my breath and check the data pad’s map to cheek how far I got.
The dot was flashing right on the Mexican-US border, and apparently the dot was supposed to be the user's location, so I guess I was entering the US now. I went back to running, I had no time to stop and take a break, maybe later but right now I don’t know if any other Advent forces are in the area. When I got to what looked like a major roadway I saw headlines in the distance, but they weren't approaching. I had to keep going, but having transport wouldn't hurt. I dived into the ditch on the other side and slowly made my way towards the headlights, constantly watching for any armed personnel in the area. As I got near, I heard more Advent talking. I peaked over the ditch and saw at least 5 troopers all standing around. One or two looked like officers, but it was too dark to really be sure. One of the troopers looked like he was filling the vehicle with gas, and now I could see more headlights down the road. Great, it was one big convoy so if I try to steal this one, there is a big risk that the others may see me. Regardless, I’m here so might as well try.
I picked up a rock and threw it in the direction of the group of soldiers. They all jumped and raised their rifles. One of the officer looking soldiers looked one of the normal looking ones and shouted something at him. Soon after, the normal looking soldier started walking in the direction of the rock, the rest slowly following him. I took this moment and made a mad dash for the vehicle which I can now see as one of those Advent patrol cars. The driver side door was open, so hopefully the passenger side was unlocked. Bringing hy hand up to the door handle, my eyes did not leave the group of soldiers. The door creaked open and I stepped inside the car as slowly and quietly as I could. I closed the door and shimmied over to the driver seat. Just as I thought I was home free, one of the soldiers turned around. We both froze for a seconded before the soldier started yelling at his friends.
“Sorry boys, I need this more than you!” I slammed the door and pushed hard on the gas pedal. I heard shouting and more engines being primed. Before I knew it, I was in a old school car chase. At least this way I’d make it to Canada faster.
Chapter 11: The Smugglers
It took Advent about a minute to catch up, but rest assured they were behind me now. I looked at the rear view mirror and one patrol car was getting close and it looked like the passenger was holding a pistol of some kind. My suspicions were proven by a plasma shot flying past the passenger side of my car. I had memories of some open world criminal game as I started zigzagging, throwing off their aim. I looked around my car to see anything that could help try to take out my pursuers. I opened the glove box and found a box of grenades. I quickly pulled them out and placed them on the passenger seat. I looked up just in time to make a hard right turn, baray missing a tree. I looked back and saw the lead patrol car crash into the tree, disabling the car. This time a transport van came searching around the corner. I grabbed one of the grenades, pulled the pin and tossed the bloody thing out the window, taking it’s sweet time to blow up right as the transport drove over it. For the most part, the van was lightly smoking but it held up. Suddenly, the van got a magical boost of speed and shot past my left side. The doors flew open and a Advent Trooper started wildly firing at me. I zagged to the right to avoid the first barrage at the same time grabbing another grenade. I pulled the pin and threw it hard out the window and it landed somewhere inside the van. Right before it blew up, the trooper fired another volley and one shot hit my left tire, causing me to lose traction and nearly fly off the road on a old farm field. In the middle of trying not to spin out in the loose mud, I could see the van blowing up into fireworks in the rear view mirror. I looked back just in time to drive through the old barnhouse, rolling once and coming to a halt just outside the horse pen.
Dazed and confused, I opened my eyes to see the engine was smoking and the inside of the car smelt like gasoline. Wait… gasoline? I quickly grabbed my sword, cut the driver side door open and leaped out of the car and ran away just in time for the car, and grenades to explode. I dived behind the horse pen just as red hot debris flew everywhere. After it all died down and walked out, breathing heavy to see the car burning with the roof completely blown off the top. Regardless of what just happened, I had no time to wait. I continued on, the map telling me I just made it into Canada.
Luckily the rest of the trip went off without anything major happening, and after about another week of traveling I was finally at the smugglers town. Keeping my hand on my sword sheath, I slowly made my way though the ghost town. I did not need night vision to know that the smugglers were watching me from the shadows. I made it to the old mall Shields told me and before I could even walk in, a tall, buff dude blocked the way.
“Well, well, what’s a little lady like you doing all the way out here, in a deserted town of all places?” His voice boomed. I just crossed my arms, not amused.
“A friends told me there was a smugglers route that operated out of here, and after Xcom pissed me off and mistreated me, I’m on my own and was hoping we could do some ah, business.” I replied with a stern voice.
“Well well well, we can never turn down an opportunity! Follow me, I’ll take ya to the boss man, Jacob Drax, I’m sure he can work out a deal.” The man lead me into the old mall, flicked a switch and the place lit up like it was new.
“Managed to get electricity working here again, impressive.” I admitted. The man laughed.
“Yes indeed, it look a long time to get this place back in working order. By the way, the name’s Jackson. I was Xcom once, like you.”
“Really? What made you quit?” I asked.
“Oh, same reason as you I guess. They treated me like a traitor for killing a Advent Informant. Half our squad was dead, and we were getting surrounded. We had no other choice but to kill the bastard and evac before anyone else got killed. We weren't even able to recover the bodies of the fallen. My squadmates that survived agreed with me, but HQ threw me a cell and planned to execute me. For what, making my own, calculated decision? They were worse than Germany in WW1.” Jackson balled his fistes.
“Jesus, that’s rough.” I said.
“You don’t know the half of it, Drax himself helped me get out with help of my squad leader. Sure, I was a dick for leaving them, after they supported me, but no way I was gonna deal with Xcom’s BS anymore. Agh, but enough of that, I have a better team now.” Jackson waved it off. “Jacob is just in this room, good luck.” He opened the door and I walked into a shorter guy with a scar running down his left eye. He gave me a look before smiling, his rotten yellow teeth making me miss toothpaste.
“Well, well, well, what do we have here?” Drax stood up, eyeing me.
“Listen, a friend told me about your little set up here and I was hoping to do business, maybe get some better armor, a new sword, that sorta thing.” I explained my situation to Drax and he rubbed his chin, probably thinking what value I may have on me.
“I’m sure we could make a trade, your sword for one from our armory. Seems fair, right?” Drax offered.
“Alright, how about a new set of armor?” I asked.
“Well, the armor you have is all battered and torn, I don’t see any profit from that. What’s that data pad you have there?” Drax pointed to the pad Shield’s gave containing the map.
“Nothing is really special on it, just a map of your route.” I replied, showing him.
“I don’t care what’s on it, those data pads hold a hefty price on the black market! Ok, here is my offer, your old sword and the data pad for a new sword and set of armor of your choice from my personal armoury.” Drax explained. I guess it was the best I was gonna get, cause I don’t have anything else of value.
“Alright deal, you can have the sword and data pad now, and you let me pick out my new one and armor.” I replied.
“Wounderful! I’m always happy to work out a successful deal, right this way.” Drax lead me to his armory, and for a smuggler, it was quite impressive. I gave him the sword and data pad, and he gave me an hour to pick my items.
Chapter 12: It is Always Something
After finding a new fuzion blade and a set of light leather armor, I walked out of Drax’s armoury to find him going through the data pad. As I walked up he looked at me with satisfied eyes, but something did not feel right.
“Well, that was a wonder deal! I hope you are as satisfied as I am after that.” He spat with sarcastic happiness.
“Yes, it is good enough.” I replied, strapping the leather gloves on.
“Good enough? Whatever do you mean?” Drax sounded offended.
“I mean it is a fair enough deal… what else would it mean?” I asked.
“It almost sounds like you are not satisfied.” Drax muttered.
“Listen, I just went through hell, my ex-commander just tossed me aside, I almost broke my legs jumping out of a boat, and I got chased halfway up the country to get here! Sorry if I sound a little tired.” I snapped.
“Whoa whoa, you need to learn to keep calm.” Drax smiled. I balled my fistets.
“You need to learn to shut up, out here people might not hesitate to shut your mouth for you!” I slowly reached for my new sword, but Drax clearly noticed.
“She is going for a weapon! Detain her!” Drax shouted, pointing a crooked finger at me.
What happened was just as well as one would expect. The buff body guard to Drax’s left drew his wooden club and took a swing at me. I sidestepped easily, kicked the guy in the nuts and jump kicked him between the eyes, knocking him cold. The guy on the left drew a handgun and fired a couple shots at me. I rolled to the left, drew my sword and charged him as he was reloading. He tried pistol whipping me but I blocked it, disarmed him and cut his arm off. The second guy screamed and flopped over. Then I looked Drax straight in the eyes, I could tell he was scared six ways to sunday.
“Listen, buddy… I’m sure we ca-” Drax stopped making deals with a swing of my sword. Ther fusion effect causing him to burst into flames. When it was all set and finished, I walked out of of the run down mall, my armor covered with blood. Some of the other smugglers walked in the mall, as when they started shouting and cursing, reality was shocked back into me and I made a dash for the hills. As I was running, I cursed under my breath. But I guess this is what happens when your left to fend for yourself.