ONE LIVE GRENADE
Posted By: Chuckles<firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: 21 June 2004, 12:03 PM
Only the soft sound of his own breathing broke the chilled silence as he lay on his belly in the snow. He watched the Clown keep a defensive vigil in front of the blue base far in the distance. Too far for even the most experienced snipers to hope for a hit, let alone a kill. Not too far for Nate.
He followed Chuckles head as the clown paced. Accounting for both the wind and the fact that he was at least one hundred feet above his target, he made his final aim, and began to depress the trigger. This isn't the mission. Keep control. Let him go. He relaxed his finger and slung the rifle over his back, choosing reason over vengeance. The clown's time would come, but first things first.
The battle had gone on for two days with no end in sight: at least no end that Nate would readily contemplate. In a strike that was both daring and strategically brilliant the blue team had feigned an attack on the red team's flag, while Lexicus slipped deep into the base and obliterated their fuel truck. The reality of it was plain enough to them all: no fuel=no warthogs=no victory. Their only chance was to either steal blue's truck, or blow it up. Owing to the truck's location (a hardened garage carved out of the side of the mountain) and red's total lack of tactical surprise, the attempt would have been suicide for any regular soldier. Nate was not a regular soldier.
He made his way silently down the hill towards the left side of the base. The garage was in the corner. Nate watched from the darkness as two guards sat uneasily in front of the armored steal door. Noobies he thought to himself, nothing more than canaries in a coal mine: when they die, Nate is here. Sorry boys, but I won't make it that easy.
Jack and Strafe knew that they had been given a hard job. It was a great honor, to be sure, but also a terrible responsibility. To be trusted as guardians of the fuel truck on their very first day! Lex and Chuckles must have a lot of confidence in us they thought with more than a little pride. Still, they didn't understand why they were told to stand right out in front of the door. Even more perplexing was the fact that Chuckles had aimed two powerful floodlights right at them. Their thoughts were interrupted by a metallic click somewhere in the darkness to their right.
Jack looked at Strafe. "Did you hear that?" he said, covering his helmet transmitter so he didn't alarm anyone else.
"Yeah", Strafe answered back, "I heard it." Jack looked around nervously. Click! There it was again. He tried to focus his eyes in the direction of the sound, but the floodlights had wrecked his night vision. His throat tightened as fear crept through him like a cold shadow. "I guess I'd better go check it out. I'll be right back."
Strafe watched as Jack disappeared into the darkness, his night vision just as shot as Jack's. A couple of minutes later he saw him walk back into the light.
"What was it?" He asked. Jack didn't respond.
"I said what was it?" Jack stood silently. Strafe was ticked off now, which affected his judgment. Had he been calmer he would have noticed that Jack was now several inches shorter, was carrying different weapons and was not, in fact, Jack.
When Strafe got close enough, Nate reached his arm around him casually. Leaning in close to his ear he whispered three words, "I am Nate." The noobie froze. Nate raised his hand high enough for Strafe to see that he held a grenade. "If I let go, you will die. Show me the keys." Strafe did not even contemplate non-compliance. Reaching into his pocket he pulled them out. "Now open the door slowly. If you attract attention, I'll kill you." Slowly the frightened rookie walked to the door and turned the key. The door opened . . .
Nothing. The garage was empty.
Nate turned to run, but standing directly behind him with a sickening grin, was Chuckles. The clown smacked Nate's hand brutally with the stock of his shotgun, sending the grenade flying harmlessly into the darkness. The fuel truck, which had been camouflaged on the other side of the base came roaring up, purely to rub Nate's nose in his failure. Lexicus bowed in mock reverence as he began to remove his weapons.
"It is such an honor! Oooh, and this must be your legendary SR." Lex's face went suddenly grim and threatening. "You're pretty good shooting in bushes from cover. Weve lost many men. Too many." He suddenly unleashed a vicious blow to Nate's jaw.
Chuckles gestured comically across the garage to an angry and embarrassed Jack. "Hey Nate, I bet Jack and Strafe would like some quality time alone with you before we say goodbye."
Nate looked up at Chuckles with cold hard eyes. "Before we say goodbye, I'm gonna set your sun. I will kill you."
"No doubt, Nate, no doubt", the clown laughed in reply. "I'm sure you'll kill us all. He's all yours guys. Bring him to me when you're finished."
Fifteen minutes later they dragged Nate out of the garage. His hands were tied behind him. Blood covered his face and his eyes were swollen shut. It was clear from his labored breathing that at least a few ribs had been fractured. Jack and Strafe smiled with satisfaction. They had their revenge, and enjoyed it thoroughly. It was no great wonder that Strafe failed to notice that he was missing something.
The entire blue team had gathered for the finale. "It's just about sunset! I'm gonna kill you Chuckles!" Nate yelled, spraying blood and a few teeth in the Clown's direction. They could've at least broken his jaw Chuckles thought as they tied him to the side of the fuel truck. Oh well, that can be easily remedied . As he started towards his captive he heard a sound. A metallic sound that comes from one thing and one thing only. He fixed his terrified gaze on Nate who was now smiling.
"Pop quiz Chucky: what's the difference between a fuel truck and a gas bomb?"