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AOI, Part V: The Red Team Strikes Back
Posted By: Jay2645<Disneylandjay@gmail.com>
Date: 5 December 2009, 2:07 am

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      There was a cool Canadian breeze flowing as the Red team got ready for the siege.
      As this was the northernmost, less-inhabited part of Canada, where the permafrost was very frosty and was very permanently attached to the soil, all breezes were cold, so it being a cool breeze was a given.
      Even calling it a "cool breeze" might have been an understatement, as the breeze was actually more of a "blisteringly cold" breeze.
      The Reds' plan was to use several Warthogs full of missile launchers to surround the base and negate any escape attempts by the team trapped within.
      Nate himself was armed with a sniper rifle, and his job was to kill any Blue which stupidly wandered out of the base without a vehicle.
      If he were playing a videogame, one might consider this "camping" tactic unfair, and thus would get very mad at him for even considering to "camp".
      Nate didn't call it "camping". He called it "a legitimate strategy". He looked back to the cargo compartment of his Warthog to ensure that the sniper rifle was still tucked safely away. He looked to his left and saw that his shotgun was still safely mounted to the drivers' side door.
      The Red team had a bloodlust, and they were more than willing for a fight. It had been too long since they had last gotten the adrenaline rush of battle, and the Warthogs carrying the team raced across the snow with a purpose.

      Once he was sure that all of his stuff was in order, Nate began conducting his final systems check with the rest of the Reds, who were listening to everything that one another said via communications devices implanted within each one of their helmets,
      "Are all of your sniper rifles ready?"
      "Affirmative," Cake answered.
      "Missiles loaded?"
      "Enough to stay on the attack for quite some time," confirmed Puma.
      "What about our special toaster?"
      "Toaster? Right here," Ducky replied. He fiddled around with something or another, and pulled out a toaster from somewhere in his Warthog. He lifted it up into the air to show Nate that he, in fact, had remembered the special toaster. However, as he did so, the Warthog ran over a particularly nasty snowdrift and a combination of wind resistance and the bump itself caused the toaster to fly out of Ducky's hand and embed itself in the snow.
      Ducky decided to remain quiet on the matter and hope no one would notice that he had just lost their special toaster.
      "Good. Systems check finished; we have everything we need."
Inferno had a serious look on her face and glanced over at Nate, who was driving.
      "Nate… I have something to tell you."
      Nate stopped the Warthog. The other members of red team all sighed in unison.
      Inferno went on, visibly nervous. "Nate… You're really great and all… But I think we should just be friends, partners on a professional level only."
      Nate grew visibly depressed. "You're telling me this now, in mid-mission?"
      "Yes. I'm sorry, but I never had any other opportunity to tell you."
      "Inferno, I have something to ask you."
      "Would you take a bullet for me?"
      "…I suppose I still would."
      "Good." Nate pulled out the shotgun from the drivers' side door and shot Inferno at near point-blank range. She tumbled out of the Jeep into the snow, and Nate drove off without looking back at her body. "Some women," he said to himself as he raced across the snow once again.

      There was near-total silence in the Blue base. A human-like silhouette stood still as a statue in the center of the room, draped with a cloth. Flyboy stood next to it; the other two blues both watched as the unveiling was about to begin.
      "I've finally perfected it." Flyboy said. He was attempting to majestically unveil a robot which looked almost (but not quite) identical to him, but kept getting the cloth stuck on the silhouette's head. He took a great tug at the cloth. It finally came loose and the figure began to totter, causing Flyboy to rush to steady it. The armor plating composing its body was a bright sunshine yellow, but its face was a mass of grey, filled to the brim with sharp angles and seemingly designed to look menacing in every possible way. Red lights lit up where its eyes should be. "I've made my robot. I call him 'Flybot'. He has my devilishly good looks and all the charm to absolutely KILL the ladies. And he's yellow. Yellow is a pimp's color."
      "You programmed it to kill the ladies?" Pie asked quizzically.
      "Well, and the guys, too, but I'm hoping he'll prefer to be a lady killer, much like his creator. They'll be all over him, I swear." Flyboy grinned, yet Pie had a largely skeptical expression on his face.
      "And having multiple ladies around is a good thing why?"
      "It gives us more chances to get some?" Flyboy tried to drive this point home with a playful elbow to Pie's ribs. Unfortunately, this didn't solve many of Flyboy's problems, as he had elbowed Pie a little too hard and now was getting a sharp, hard, and unappreciative stare from his Commander.
      "Fly, I'm married."
      Flyboy knew he was stumbling and falling, but desperately tried to salvage his argument much as one might try to salvage a burning plane which is falling from the sky with no tail, one wing, and half of an engine. "It gives me more chances to get some?"
      "Something tells me you aren't going to 'get' anything. Since when is having more ladies around such a good thing?"
      "You're saying that having Inferno around isn't a good thing?"
      "Not when she's trying to kill us."
      "And how many times has she tried to kill us?"
      "She killed Bob."
      Flyboy finally found a flaw in Pie's argument and tried to exploit it as a way to land his plane crash of an argument. "No, snipers killed Bob."
      "OK, yes, snipers did kill Bob," Pie conceded, "but then she tried to kill us when you were caressing your Longsword. Remember?"
      "But she was doing it in the sexiest way possible."
      "Sexy or not, Fly, she was trying to kill us. That is a fact. You know that is a fact. You are denying the fact that IT IS A FACT."
      "I swear, it's not a fact. Just because she was shooting really big anti-matter charges at us doesn't mean…" Flyboy was at a loss for words. Even his flying skills were no help when it came to this plane crash, and the half of an engine he had left just fell off.
      "Doesn't mean what?" Pie inquired.
      Flyboy shrugged. "Maybe she was trying to kill someone else?"
      "Like who?"
      Pie considered this. "OK, you got me there."
      Pie and Torn stared at him, confused as to where this remark came from. Flyboy felt himself grow pink and tried to wave the embarrassing outburst away as fast as he could.
      Pie dropped the subject and turned to Flybot. "Are you going to turn that thing on?"
      "Oh, yeah. I almost forgot. Thanks." Flyboy hit a switch and the robot came to life. The yellow body of the robot jumped to life and began to move about freely, its photoreceptors taking in the new environment which it shall take over and dominate sooner rather than later.
      "Hello there, humans. My name is FLYBoT: Fierce, Lying, Yellow Bot of Terror." 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.
      "Something tells me that isn't quite right, Flyboy." Torn said.
      "Nonsense, I wouldn't make a robot which would actually try to kill anything but the red team."
      "You sure?"
      "I sure hope so."
      Pie shrugged and turned to the robot. "Well, robot, what do you predict the reds are going to do?"
      "Kill you all."
      "Before that."
      "I'll kill you myself before they get here."
      "Wait, what?"
      "Oh, nothing, nothing, meatbag." Pie was pretty sure that if the faceless robot had the ability to convey expressions, it would be scowling in disgust at the Blues. "I've analyzed the red's strategies, and I would guess that they're going to try to lay your base under siege. I recommend walking outside and simply telling them to stop."
      "Very sound advice, Flybot, but I don't think it will be necessary. We have all the food and provisions we need right here."
      "How many missile strikes can this base take?" Flybot asked.
      "I wouldn't know, mayb-"
      "Never mind, I've already done the math, you idiot human. The kind of firepower they'll be bringing will cripple the base, but not destroy it." It paused. "Pray they don't use any nukes."
      "So wait… They'll shut off the electricity?" Flyboy asked, worried.
      "Yes. No internet and no porn until the siege is over and you're all dead. You guys are screwed. Good luck."
      Pie sighed as the first of many missile blasts rocked the base.

      Inferno lay on the ground for what felt like an eternity. She was betrayed by the one she thought that she had trusted the most in a moment of weakness, and she was uncertain whether she could ever trust anyone again. Her physical wounds alone were mortal unless she received some medical care, and quickly, and her mental wounds were only worsening her declining condition. But there she lay, mortally wounded and alone in the freezing snow, no human in sight.
      However, a figure lumbered towards her which wasn't exactly human.
      Becoming a zombie, she considered, was better than becoming dead.

      Bob carried Inferno back to his ice cave. She was in bad, bad shape, and the outlook for the length of the rest of her life didn't look good. She made a slight groaning noise as Bob hoisted her up onto the makeshift table he had made for her.
      He may have been an idiot, but he knew when someone wasn't going to make it through this life for too much longer. It pained him to think of her possibly and quite probably dying, as she and Bob have had a long history together…

      It was four years before Bob got assigned to "N" company, and only a few months before he was forced into the military. Humanity had just recovered from a major war, but Bob was at home, happy and in a relationship with who he considered an awesome redhead.
      She did it all for him: she cooked, she cleaned, and she did everything for him… All in return for his love, and nothing more. Bob knew that he wasn't the best or the brightest of people, but he was happy that she had chosen him as her boyfriend, against all odds. He tried to prove this to her with his love, but he seemed to be his own worst enemy. Any plans he tried to make with her always seemed to fall flat on their face, sometimes quite literally.
      But every time they did, she giggled. And every time she giggled, he wanted to do more for her, causing the plans he made to fall flat on their face once more.
      And so the cycle repeated itself.

      Her name was Cyan, and they had been together since high school. They were high school sweethearts, young, crazy, and in love. Bob brought home the money while Cyan did the work. The economy was entering an economic boom, things were happy, and the general public had no idea how close a revolution was.
      Then the day came. It was a Wednesday, and he knew it was a Wednesday primarily because he never particularly liked Wednesdays. They dragged on for too long, they had a funny name, and they just were unpleasant in general, so it came as no surprise to Bob the Wednesday that the men from the government knocked on the door. When he answered, they dragged Bob from his home and away from Cyan for what he thought would be forever.

      They knew Bob wasn't the smartest, smartest, or luckiest of the candidates. Instead, he lay at the other end of the spectrum, and as such he was considered "expendable". He was to be operated on non-stop as a testing bed for the latest in military procedures and experiments, as the doctors screwed with his brain and only managed to lower his IQ even further from what it already was. He began hearing voices from the sky which narrated what he did. They came and went, occasionally leaving him alone, but it began to drive him crazy because they were particularly annoying voices.
      The men from the government promised him a pet turtle. He got it and named it "Speedy". One day, as part of his testing, they took Speedy from him to see how he would react.
      As it would turn out, Speedy's disappearance affected Bob profoundly. He began to search everywhere for him, until the men from the government told him that Speedy had run away and had been shot by a giant superheated laser blast.
      He never was the same again.
      Bob returned to Cyan a changed man. He still loved her, but he knew that he wasn't the man who she fell in love with. He was a man who had been altered by the government in ways that she couldn't possibly imagine. Bob was changed, and he knew it.
      The worst part was he wasn't sure if it was going to happen again. He tried to be there for Cyan, he tried to carry on life as it was before they took him, he tried to make her laugh, smile, love and giggle again… But he knew that she couldn't love him anymore.

      In reality, things were quite the opposite. Cyan still loved him dearly… But she wasn't sure what they had done to him. She wasn't sure if he was now secretly a spy for the government or quite possibly something even worse, and as she was the brains (of a sort) in the relationship, she knew that Bob himself couldn't know, either.
      By now it was only a month before the war. Tensions were beginning to rise, and Cyan feared that Bob would be taken away, drafted by the government and forced to fight on their side. She tried to be there for him, but her attempts failed worse than Bob's own attempts to do things earlier on in their relationship.
      She had predicted correctly, as it wasn't long until the men from the government arrived again, this time armed with guns. They forcibly made Bob sign a form which drafted him into the army until at least war's end, if not longer.
      Cyan was heartbroken; she loved him, and now there was a very good chance that she would never see him again. In desperation, she tried to join the army as well, but the fascist government had put restrictions on women and did not allow them to fight in their army.
      She tried to join the other side's forces, the Communist Red Army, but she was again denied as she was a female and thus not allowed to join their army, either.

      In a fit of desperation, Cyan decided to become a mercenary. She attempted to buy a midnight blue suit of armor in remembrance of Bob's favorite color, but she wound up having to purchase midnight black armor, as the midnight blue was sold out.
      She hid her identity behind Bob's old helmet that he had bought for her old pastime of paintballing, upgraded the armor plating protecting it, and equipped it with a voice changer to disguise her voice.
      Then she adopted a new name: "Inferno".
      To any casual onlooker, she was a man when she was wearing her armor. And so she masqueraded as a man, joining mercenary websites and looking for work, always hoping to meet Bob once again, even if it was on the field of battle. Once she had met him, she was going to remove her helmet and show him who she really was. The plan from then on was to desert and run far away from the military, possibly getting off-planet if they could secure a ride and hitch a way to one of the Outer Colonies to start a new life together.
      It was four long years without him. Four years of murdering innocents for money, putting on a tough face whilst also constantly searching for the love of her life. It had hardened her, changed her, and it had made her ruthless and quite possibly insane. In fact, she knew it had, for it had been four years of heartbreak. But she knew Bob as well. Even if they were both changed for the worse, she knew he would take her back and they would make it work.
      She knew that they would find a way, no matter what.

      Bob sat there in his ice cave, reflecting on this. A tear formed in his eye as Inferno's breaths grew shallower and shallower. He looked at her and instantly remembered why she had looked so familiar in the past.
      "I'm sorry I have to do this, Cyan." Bob said, and he took a soft bite of her shoulder, infecting her with the zombification virus which would make her into someone just like him.
      Looking back, Bob thought, maybe he wasn't as dumb as he always made himself out to be. Maybe he deserves more than just being "comic relief". But that wasn't the point.
      He didn't need to be funny to be loved. He had Cyan.
      As adored as he was by the people who have read his antics in this story so far, maybe he did have some brains after all.
      He certainly was hungry for them.