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AOI, Part IV: Coldsnap
Posted By: Jay2645<Disneylandjay@gmail.com>
Date: 5 December 2009, 2:05 am

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      The N Companies of both Red and Blue teams were now on the run from the law.
      In an extremely short time, they had gone from being two opposing teams on just one small front of a multi-front war to escapees from a random prison. In that same time, they also found out that their badass mercenary was actually a girl with a bunch of now-irreparably-damaged voice-changing equipment built into her helmet, and they had managed to escape from a prison in the Colorado Desert by virtue of a well-timed (but minor) zombie invasion. Now they were headed north, to Canada. Flyboy had some contacts up there, he said, and they could continue their skirmishes in peace.
      Overall, it was a pretty uneventful day.

      The trip to Canada itself was quite a long one. To spare my dear readers the pain of having to read pages upon pages of Bob asking if they were they yet, penetrated only by narrow escapes from epic battles with comic relief scattered about liberally, I will simply say that it was awesome, yet needlessly long. A quick summary is as follows:
      The limousine that they had stolen to "travel in style" only got them to the former United States-Canadian border. From there, the limo broke down, so they were forced to send Bob after the border patrol agents to scare them off. From there, they wound up coming into possession of some military-grade Warthogs formerly owned by the terrified border patrol.
      Inferno and Nate had chosen to ride alone with each other in their own private Warthog. Even though they gave the outward appearance of hating each other's guts, you couldn't help but think that they really liked one another.
      In short, both teams meet up with Flyboy's contact. After a gun battle and several missions which would be quite annoying in a video game, they get the coordinates to a base in the middle of nowhere, codenamed "Coldsnap". The journey to those coordinates was long and hard, and both of the teams finally came to a massive icy canyon, kilometers wide and long, with a big chasm running down the center, much like your mother. The entire place felt and looked eerily similar to Sniper Country with a snow theme (you see, God had made this place SECOND to last), and, as such, there were massive bases built into both of the hills for no readily apparent reason. However, this time, there were no teams of snipers populating them, and both of the bases were up for grabs for the two teams.
      Flyboy, however, was becoming very uncomfortable around Bob, who had been getting increasingly hungry. He unceremoniously kicked the poor zombie out near an ice cave to fend for himself. Pie protested, but it was far too late, as Bob said that he was perfectly content with this cave and had already begun to fashion himself a new home out of it.
      That is the story so far, boring and needlessly-long parts removed.
      If you had wanted to read an epic tale about a long journey somewhere that really, honestly, wasn't all that important, you would be reading Lord of the Rings, much as if you wanted to learn about the nature of life, the universe, and everything, you would be reading The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.

      Over the course of the journey, Inferno and Nate fell in love with one another, and a beautiful (albeit boring) love story blossomed. However, love is the stickiest and least funny subject one can possibly imagine, and so the majority of this story tries to shy away from it.
The remainder of this chapter is what happens once both teams had finally gotten to their dream bases which had been promised to them by Flyboy's contacts.

      Inferno finally emerged from the base's one restroom wearing her new Winterized Armor. She wasn't wearing her helmet. Instead, she went helmetless, giving her helmet a very special home in her cabin, high up on a shelf for all to see and for her to stare at every night. It seemed to idolize something for her, as if it meant something profoundly special. Nate thought about this for a moment before jumping to the conclusion that it was just a strange personality quirk which most smugglers, bounty hunters, and mercenaries seemed to have.
      "Took you long enough, damn," he said, frustrated.
      Inferno stared at him, her hands on her hips. "I'm sorry?"
      "Girls take forever to do everything, it seems."
      "Oh, so things are different now that I'm a girl now, huh? Are we becoming a tad SEXIST?" A violently insane tone began to appear in her voice the way violently insane tones tend to do that from time to time before going back about their business.
      Nate realized he was about to get into deep trouble. "I love you," he said cautiously, with a nervous smile on his face. Inferno seemed to tower over him; the situation, overall, was not one that he enjoyed particularly much.
      "Uh-huh. Even though we're in a relationship, I'm still not above shooting you. The last thing I want to do is hurt you. But it's still on the list." She indicated to the shotgun she had docked away nearby.
      "I can see that the love is mutual." Nate's voice was sheepish.
      Inferno nodded and turned her back to Nate. "So it is."
      Nate tried to change the subject. "I noticed your armor is a different color now."
      "Yes, that would be because it's winterized. It's cyan." She stopped being angry at Nate for a moment and turned around so Nate could admire her new armor.
      "I don't really like it too much, honestly. I liked the darker armor better."
      She gave him one of those signature looks which girls are experts at, and then her anger returned to her. "Seriously? You SERIOUSLY don't like the armor which I had spent A LOT of money to buy and upgrade?"
      "Y… Yes…" Nate said squeamishly.
      Inferno was disgusted with him. "You really are an imbecile, aren't you? This armor is state-of-the-art, designed to withstand the cold and can take pretty much anything up to a point-blank shotgun blast, in which there is only a SLIGHT chance that I'll be mortally wounded."
      "So, wait…" Nate felt as if he was a gigantic target in the middle of a firing range, and that Inferno had a sniper rifle and was aiming for the bulls-eye.
      "Isn't that what I just TOLD YOU? You're dating me, and you tell me flat-out that think this armor doesn't look very good on me, just to hurt my feelings. That's sad." Nate opened his mouth, but Inferno stuck out her left hand. "Shut up. Don't talk to me."
      Puma interrupted the tense exchange with an announcement: "The base now has wi-fi. We are now in the future." His voice was totally devoid of enthusiasm. "Woop-de-doo."
      "Good. Now get off the damn computer, I need to play my video games and check my daily webcomic strips."
      Puma stared at him. "So that's all I'm good for, huh? Setting up every little piece of technology in this entire damn base so you could play your video games?"
      "Yep." Nate said. "If it was so hard, why didn't you have Ducky help you? I'm your boss, and what I say goes. Now don't talk back to your superiors."
      "You're an ignoramus and Ducky's an idiot."
      "So is mostly everyone here, it seems." Infeno said bitterly.
      Puma let out a cheer. "FINALLY, SOMEONE THAT AGREES WITH ME."
      Inferno and Puma gave one another a high-five.

      Meanwhile, in the opposite end of the red base, Cake was busy putting giant posters of Pie with his eyes gouged out everywhere in his cabin, muttering cruel cruelties and obscene obscenities violently under his breath. Ducky knocked on his door.
      "I heard that there's an indoor pool in our base. Wanna come along?"
      Cake sighed. "Should've expected you to ask something of this nature, Ducky, after the 'pool fiasco' in basic training. I don't see any reason why I should go with you, it's almost guaranteed to end badly, and I simply don't want to get stuck in a situation where it is, more than likely, not going to end well on my end."
      "It's either you go with me to the pool, or Nate makes you work. Would you rather be lazy, or be productive?"
      Cake considered this piece of logic for a moment. "Sure, I'll go with you, I guess. I can't think of any reason why I shouldn't." There was a minor pause before he added under his breath, "except if I go, I won't be able to finish hanging up posters of this imbecile…" Cake sighed as he grabbed his swimming trunks, opened the door and walked with Ducky to their new indoor pool.
      The pool was large and clear and blue, looking quite serene and pleasant. It had its own private section of the main base building, located right next to the main hangar. Flight suits were draped on the walls, just in case a contingent of pilots who were caught unawares in the pool could run and put on a flight suit fast enough to grab one of the nearby jets and launch a counterattack.
      "I didn't get my nickname in basic training, you know. No, there's much more beyond that; it was a mere coincidence that they gave me the same nickname that I had gotten growing up. Wanna know how I got this nickname?" Ducky asked once they arrived.
      Cake looked at him in the way that one looks at another when they really don't want to hear the story that they're about to say, but they'll listen to it anyway.
      Ducky began his anecdote. "My father… Was a drinker. And a fiend.
      "One night, he goes off… Crazier than usual. Mommy gets out our pet duck to defend herself. He doesn't like that. Not. One. Bit."
      Ducky's voice grew slightly more sinister. "So, me watching, he takes the rabid duck to her, laughing as he does it."
      A violently insane tone began to appear in his voice the way violently insane tones tend to do that from time to time before going back about their business. "He turns to me, and he says, 'WHY SO WET?' He comes at ME with the duck, 'WHY SO WET?'
      "He puts the duck up to my mouth. 'LET'S PUT A SMILE ON THAT FACE.'"
      Cake winced.
      "Aaaaannnnnnd… Why so wet?" Ducky grabbed Cake, pushed him into the pool, and ran away, laughing maniacally.

      Pie and the Blues had finally arrived at their new base and began to set up shop.
      "Hey," said Pie enthusiastically as he unpacked a pile of boxes, "I just got an idea as for what we could call our band."
      "What?" Flyboy asked.
      "Pie and the Blues!" Pie threw up his hands in excitement as if one were to cry on another's birthday, "SURPRISE!" and then reveal that the birthday gift he had gotten her was that he forgot to wear a condom the other night and that she now needed to get herself checked for a number of STDs.
      "You got that from Sky Voice, didn't you?" Flyboy said, unamused.
      "Sky Voice. He's been narrating our entire story so far."
      "You mean the guy who's been talking about girls and STDs and such?"
      "How long has he been there?"
      "Oh, he showed up and has been narrating the entire course of the story so far; from about when Bob showed up at our doorstep and everything went to hell to now."
      "How come I wasn't aware of this?"
      "Because you're an idiot."
      Pie considered this, figured it would explain a lot, and thus went along with it.
      One could explain away the majority of the world's problems with the simple explanation that each and every one of us human beings, deep down, are all idiots. Christians have been using this fact as evidence proving that their religion is the one true religion as of late, arguing that if we were all created in another being's image, and if we all are idiots, than those facts coupled together would explain a lot about our universe. Atheists, meanwhile, believe because the Christians have come up with this explanation, it is only further, conclusive proof of the world's idiocy.
      On a completely unrelated note, Pie added, "Fly, how much programming skill do you have?"
      Flyboy thought about this for a little bit. "I like to think I have quite a bit of programming skill," he finally said.
      "Enough to build a robot which could replace Bob as a source of comic relief while at the same time becoming actually useful?"
      "Can you do it anyway?"
      "I guess so."
      "That's a good Flyboy. Torn, how's the flag?"
      "Still tattered as ever, Pie," Torn replied.
      "Good. Bob, how's the… Oh, right."

      Cake had finally managed to pull himself out of the pool and was beginning to dry himself off when he heard a knock on his cabin door. He sighed and got up, half-dressed. He was expecting Ducky to come by and gloat about how he had just been pushed into the pool, but instead, he was unexpectedly approached by Inferno. He invited her in and she took a sat in a nearby chair, staring at the pictures of Pie with his eyes scratched out on the walls. She smiled slightly, seeming to enjoy the chain reaction she had caused in Cake's mind, but quickly became engrossed in her thoughts.
      "Cake," she said after a few moments, "I need your advice."
      The suddenness of this statement took Cake completely by surprise. "Really, now? You need my advice? What about?"
      "I thought you were Ms. Tough-Girl, with the whole 'I could really care less if I kill you' sort of thing going on?"
      "That…" She sighed. "That's a cover. I'm really not sure if I'm as tough as I seem. I didn't use to be; I wasn't always like this. A lot of… things happened to me, so I was forced to toughen up and became a mercenary right as this stupid war was beginning. I'm not sure if it's a part of me or now. I'm not sure if I can even go back. I'm not sure who or what I am, anymore"
      "Why? What happened?"
      "It's not something I like to talk about. I need your advice, Cake, will you hear me out? While I don't trust you any more than I do any other members of this team… You seem like you're the most competent one here."
      "I like Nate, and he likes me. But he likes me in a way that I… really don't like him. Simply put, I don't love him. My heart belongs to someone else, someone I lost long ago."
      "Shouldn't you have gotten over him by now?"
      "I did… For a while. But on the trip here… I thought I discovered him again. I thought I found the one who I had been missing for some time. I'm not sure; he's… changed significantly, at least physically, but his personality and name match up with how I remember him."
      "Who is it?"
      "I'm… I'm not at liberty to tell you."
      "Do I know him?"
      "Not very well, I'm afraid. He isn't around with us anymore; I lost contact him a short while ago."
      "Is it someone on the Blue team?"
      "I wouldn't know exactly what to call him. He just seems… Out of place with the Blues."
      "Is it Flyboy?"
      "I already told you, I'm not at liberty to tell you. But I need your help. I need you to help me tell Nate."
      Cake nearly fell over. "Tell Nate that you don't love him? He'd kill you!"
      Inferno broke down into tears. "I know. That's why I need your help… Or at the very least tell me how I should handle it."
      "Well… What I would do is try to convince him to break up with you."
      "And how would you do that?" Inferno asked, tears still in her eyes.
      "I don't know. I can't help you there. You're going to have to just wing it."
      "Thanks, Cake." She began to leave his room. "Sorry for losing my composure like that… I don't like to do it, and I don't do it often. It never happened, got that?"
      "It's alright, I got it. Good luck with Nate." Cake said, waving her good-bye.

      There was a long moment of silence as Nate and Inferno stood alone in the Red's hangar bay. Nate was quietly surveying the new equipment that the Reds had gotten their hands on, preparing his ultimate battle plan for the attack on the Blues. There was nearly total silence except for Nate's frantic muttering.
      "We need a new plan." Inferno said finally.
      "What was wrong with the old plan?" Nate asked.
      "Well, back then, we didn't have access to this incredible array of nukes," said Inferno, her arm sweeping around behind her to show him all of their newly-acquired Longsword bombers, each loaded to the brim with missiles and nukes.
      "Do we really need to use those things? I say we just charge the base and lay the place under siege like we were going to back in Blood Gulch. If we put up a strong enough stranglehold on the blues, eventually they'll be forced into submission."
      "Nukes are ALWAYS the answer, Nate. I thought you knew that."
      "Not this time. Nukes are not always the answer. Those nukes are too valuable to waste; you and I both know that."
      Inferno sighed like she would if she was arguing with an idiot on the internet that wouldn't see things her way out of sheer stupidity. "No, I don't 'know that'. These nukes should be fine to use. As long as it hits something, no nuke is a wasted nuke. I feel that killing members of the Blue team is always a good purpose for a nuclear weapon. Of course, I feel that killing anything is a good use of a nuclear weapon, but by virtue of the fact that you're still paying me, I'm just going to use the Blue team as an example."
      "You're using the Death Star approach to problems. That never works out too well, especially not for the team using it."
      "And what are YOU using? The Empire Strikes Back approach?"
      "Yes, I am, in fact. In The Empire Strikes Back, the Empire won. When it comes to using the Death Star approach on something, it never ends too well for anyone at all."
      "But the Death Star killed billions more than the Battle of Hoth did."
      "Yes, that IS true, but which battle do people like better? Which one is more covered in-depth with panoramas and video game levels and has become a part of pop culture in general? The Battle of Hoth, or the Death Star battle?"
      "That depends. Which Death Star battle are we talking about here?"
      "The first one."
      "I think fan opinion is pretty split on the matter when it comes to that one, Nate. You have just as many Trench Run recreations as you do Battle of Hoth recreations, and you quite possibly have even more parodies of the Trench Run than you do the Battle of Hoth."
      "No, I'm sure people would rather watch the Battle of Hoth over the first Death Star. The Battle of Hoth just seems cooler, for some reason. More people like it."
      "But some people might want to watch the Battle of Endor over the Battle of Hoth. Who wouldn't want to hear Ackbar scream that it's a trap?"
      "The Battle of Endor is irrelevant."
      "But it had a Death Sta-"
      "It remains irrelevant, and irrelevant never forgets. Get ready, for we attack tomorrow."