Twitter: https://twitter.com/MercCommandMissed past threads? Catch them here:http://suptg.thisisnotatrueending.com/archive.html?tags=pararescue+witchesOther Quests:http://suptg.thisisnotatrueending.com/archive.html?tags=Valkyrian%20Mercs%20Quest (Complete)http://suptg.thisisnotatrueending.com/archive.html?tags=Magical%20Girl%20Hunter%20Quest (Complete)http://suptg.thisisnotatrueending.com/archive.html?tags=gundam+build+fighters+quest (Complete)http://suptg.thisisnotatrueending.com/archive.html?tags=Cyberpunk%20Idol%20Management%20Quest (Running)http://suptg.thisisnotatrueending.com/archive.html?tags=Endless+Sky+Ace+Combat+Quest (Running)You are Captain BREEANA PIERCE, a witch of the United States Air Force."So how are the new strikers feeling, Captain?" Sam asks as you slowly float up to operational altitude."I don't feel like I'm going to puke anymore, if that's what you mean." You sigh. Even though the worst of the acclimation effects for the new FB-22 strikers have passed by now, your legs still itched incessantly. However, that was just a minor inconvenience. At least you were able to fly in the damn things now. Fortunately, it seems Sam, Jen, and Tiff have gotten the hang of them too. Actually, they recovered much more quickly than you, no doubt because they were younger and had less striker experience. Still, you were a bit jealous of that. (cont)
>>38094331However, the buzz of your radio snaps you back to attention."All right, Captain Pierce, this exercise is simple." You hear Mission Control drone. "There are three objectives: Alpha, Bravo, and Charlie. You need to destroy as many of these objectives as possible. Colonel Wilkins' witches will be the OPFOR. You'll all be wearing goggles to simulate night fighting. Do you copy?""Copy." You nod. "Clock starts in sixty seconds. Get ready."You double check your loadout. As a standard, you always carried a pair of AT4 launchers for use against armored targets. Nothing to take out a tank or bunker like a magically enhanced rocket. Your secondary weapon is your trusty old Colt .45. You could never go wrong with that.However, for your primary weapon, you were taking...>a Multiple Grenade Launcher, for maximum devastation.>an M16 with M203 attachment. A good balance between ground attack and air defense.>an M249 SAW. Good against light targets, planes, and witches.>Other
>>38094352>a Multiple Grenade Launcher, for maximum devastation.
>>38094352>>an M16 with M203 attachment. A good balance between ground attack and air defense.
>>38094352>an M16 with M203 attachment. A good balance between ground attack and air defense.
>>38094352>>an M249 SAW. Good against light targets, planes, and witches.If the others have AT4s as well, we should be good if we save them for the objectives.
Wheel chair slut dead yet?
>>38094352>>an M249 SAW. Good against light targets, planes, and witches.
so, do you think someday we can get Strikers unit work with full-size MK-82?
>an M16 with M203 attachment. A good balance between ground attack and air defense.
>>38094352>>an M16 with M203 attachment. A good balance between ground attack and air defense.Balance is always good
>>38094352>M249 SAWFor maximum BRRRRRRRT
>>38094352>an M249 SAW. Good against light targets, planes, and witches.
>>38094352You were hefting the standard M16 with the M203 attachment. Sure, it couldn't spit out explosive death at the rate the MGL was capable of, but it was useful in defending against enemy witches that you might face. After all, the .45 was a good gun and all, but it had a short range and a 7 bullet magazine. Not exactly the ideal weapon for the job.The rest of your squadron were armed with M16/M203 combos as well. With their smaller size and inexperience, you didn't think that they could handle heavier weapons. At least not yet. "All right, so what's the plan, Captain?" Sam asks."Yeah! Do we go knock 'em all out?!" Jen says excitedly."I'd rather not have to fight them...." Tiff bites her lip.You do a quick review. It was just the four of your witches against four of Holly's. She didn't put her best witches on the OPFOR, but you knew that they were raw recruits like yours. They actually had some experience from Alaska, so you had to assume they knew what they were doing. However, their disadvantage was their inexperience in night operations, and the fact they had to spread out to protect three different targets. Weaknesses you could exploit.>Try to ambush the OPFOR witches using the cover of night.>Stay together and take out each objective one by one.>Split up and hit every target simultaneously.>Other
>>38095217>>Try to ambush the OPFOR witches using the cover of night.
>>38095217>>Stay together and take out each objective one by one.
>>38095217>Try to ambush the OPFOR witches using the cover of night.
>>38095217>Stay together and take out each objective one by one.Cuntcentrate force
>>38095217>Stay together and take out each objective one by one.
>>38095217>>>Stay together and take out each objective one by one.
meanwhile in Russiahttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O1jGNd4Deys
>>38095420God damn everyone is a asshole in Russia
>>38095217"We'll stay together and take each target out one by one." You say. "We don't know what kind of defensive posture they'll take, so we should all just stay as one unit to deal with anything we come across.""Roger." Sam nods."Did you two hear me?" You turn to the twins."Aye aye, Commander!" Jen salutes you."For the last time," you roll your eyes, "Commander is a Navy rank, not an Air Force one.""But it sounds cooler!" Jen insists. "Ugh." You shake your head and turn to her sister. "Tiff?""R-Roger!" She nods rapidly."Good. Now put your goggles on." You say as you slip the heavily tinted goggles over your eyes, and everything goes black. You didn't really like wearing them, but it allowed you to do training exercises during the day."Thirty seconds." Control reminds you.You squint as you try to spot the horizon. Vague shapes start to come into focus as your eye adjust, and you can quickly begin to pick out the trees and the ground. You turn to see your witches trying to get adjusted as well. Sure, you had access to nightvision optics, but you made it a point to never fly with a witch who couldn't fly just as well in the dark as well as in the day, especially when your squadron had to fly as low as it often did.You also find yourself trying to predict Holly's defensive strategy. From what you figured from your conversations with her, Holly was the conservative type. She'd most likely keep her witches back to protect the objectives themselves, rather than risk having them go out on risky patrols. Then again, she might change things up on you..."Ten seconds." Control says.Time to make a call.>Blitz the nearest objective first.>Blitz the farthest objective first.>Hang back and try to scout out OPFOR positions before engaging.>Other
>>38095700>Blitz the farthest objective first.
>>38095700>>Blitz the farthest objective first.
>>38095576I'd like to see you stay cheerful when your leader's a mad martian machine-man.
>>38095217>>Stay together and take out each objective one by one.Let's see if they can deal with ALL of us.
>>38095700"Okay girls, this is what we're gonna do." You instruct. "Once the timer goes down, we blitz Charlie fast and hard. That means go full speed, and don't stop for anything.""Roger!" Your witches affirm."All right, exercise started! Good luck and happy hunting."The moment Control starts speaking, you pour the magic into your FB-22 strikers. The normal bright blue glow is actually muted thanks to the design of the thrust nozzles, designed to minimize emissions. You and your squadron skim the treetops. However, you keep just as much attention to the sky above as the ground below, making sure your head was on a well oiled swivel. It wouldn't do getting bounced by an enemy witch or fighter."Contact!" Sam hisses. "Three o' clock high!"You crane your head up and see the faint silhouette of a witch flying above. It looked like Holly did send a witch out on patrol duty after all. However, judging by the slow, lazy circles she was making, it was evident she hadn't spotted you."Let's get her, Commander! She's all alone!" Jen insists.>You can't miss this chance. Divert and gang up on the witch.>Split up. Two of you take the witch and the other two continue to the target.>Ignore her for now. She hasn't seen you.>Other
>>38096157>>Ignore her for now. She hasn't seen you.
>>38096157>Ignore her for now. She hasn't seen you.
>>38096157"Find her partner before engaging."
>>38096157"Ignore her for now." You hiss. "She hasn't seen us, and there's no point giving away our position just yet.""Awwwwww." Jen groans. "Quiet, you." You float over and slap Jen on the back of the head. "A mission isn't always about taking out the enemy.""All right, all right." Jen grumbles. "Remember. Once the first target is hit, start your stopwatches. You NEVER stay in the area for more than 90 seconds. I don't care if there are witches in the air or targets still up. Once those 90 seconds are up, you get out and you get out FAST." You remind them.As you head up to Charlie, you can see the objective just up ahead. A stack of crates piled up in the middle of a clearing. Up above, you could see a witch floating lazily above the crates, occasionally spinning around to get a good 360 degree view. You tried to keep yourself snorting in disgust. That was just a plain lazy way to guard a target. Sure, it saved on magic, but you'd never be able to catch a fast moving bomber. You'd essentially just be a stationary AA gun. Plus, she was close enough to the crates that if there were real munitions stored in them, there was a good chance she'd get incinerated from the secondary explosions. You were going to have to talk to Holly about this afterward."All right, get those weapons ready!" You yell, getting your M16 into a battle ready position. "We're coming up on the target!"Your sights hover over the witch for a few brief seconds. If there was a chance to take out a witch by surprise, it was now. However, you'd have to slow down to do that, which might cause the entire operation to lag.>Classic hit and run. Take out the target and head to the next one.>Try to take out the witch to prevent her from following you.>Other
>>38096676>>Classic hit and run. Take out the target and head to the next one.
>>38096676>Classic hit and run. Take out the target and head to the next one.muh stealth
>>38096676>Classic hit and run. Take out the target and head to the next one.
>>38096676>>Try to take out the witch to prevent her from following you.
>>38096676>>Classic hit and run. Take out the target and head to the next one.Here comes the snow.
>>38096676>[X] Boom and Zoom!>[X] Classic hit and run. Take out the target and head to the next one.
>>38096676"Focus the target!" You yell as you boost forward at full speed. "Load GPs!"You hear the sound of 4 M203 launchers being loaded as you and your witches pop 40mm grenades into the breeches. Of course, they weren't real grenades. Rather than shrapnel, they just released smoke as well as a concussive blast to simulate an explosion. Your AT4s were the same way too.The four grenades are launched in quick succession. You don't even slow down as the four of you pull a hard turn to loop around and attack bravo.The poor guard witch doesn't even know what happened when four flashbangs go off directly under her. Sure, her goggles actually protected her from the bright flash, but the sheer concussive force was enough to knock her from the air, causing her to drop dangerously low to the ground. You know she'd be too busy trying to not to hit the ground to pursue you, and the four of you are gone, heading to Bravo at full speed."Haha, she never knew what hit her!" Jen laughs."Wish we didn't have to wear these stupid goggles. Would've loved to see the look on her face!" Sam chortles."I just hope she's okay..." Tiff mumbles. "Focus, girls. Next objective!" You bark. "And start your clocks! Ninety seconds!"That left less than a minute and a half to take out the last two objectives. "I think I see that patrol witch headed for Bravo!" Tiff yells. "At our two o' clock!" Sure enough, you see a small blob headed for the same spot you are. No doubt they realized Charlie was destroyed and the patrol witch was heading to reinforce Bravo. >Full speed ahead. You can beat her to Bravo!>Break of to intercept her before she can link up with the Bravo defender.>Other
>>38097473>>OtherCan we go to Charlie?Head to Charlie instead.Otherwise,>>Full speed ahead. You can beat her to Bravo!
>>38097473>>Full speed ahead. You can beat her to Bravo!
>>38097503You probably mean alpha, we just pasted charlieSeconding, in that case
>>38097473>Full speed ahead. You can beat her to Bravo!
>>38097532oops.Time to get some coffee.
>>38097473>[X] Other>[X] Split up, Bree and Tiff burn for Alpha, Jen and Sam burn BravoThis teaches our rookies to hit multiple objectives in quick succession to scramble the enemies a ton. Not to mention it makes them split their forces (Making it easier to take them on) or bunch up on one target (Making it easier to flank)And besides, the real deal won't be anywhere this easy. Gotta pressure all the rookies and show them what it's like when the Reds aren't letting up.
>>38097473>>38097653Yes do itt! Split the partyyy!
>>38097473>>Full speed ahead. You can beat her to Bravo!Schnell, mach schnell!
>>38097473>>38097653Agree with this.
a little late with those votes anons...
>>38097473"Okay, we're going to split up here!" You yell. "Sam, you take Jen take Bravo! Me and Tiff will burn for Alpha and hit both objectives at once! You go that?""But what about-""If you keep going at this current speed, you should be able to hit Bravo before the patrol can get back. We can supercruise, they can't! Go!" You bark."Roger!" Sam and Jen continue on their current course while you adjust your own a bit more to the left to bring you in line with Alpha. You turn your head briefly to make sure Tiff is following you before going full speed.As you head for Alpha, you see a faint shape heading towards you. The fourth witch, no doubt moving to assist Bravo.Unfortunately, a stream of tracers lets you know that you've been seen."Tiff, break break!" You snap as a stream of tracers cuts your formation in half. Tiff breaks left while you break right and the OPFOR witch blazes past right between. "W-w-what do we do?!" Tiff wails.>Full speed! We'll hit Alpha while the witch is turning!>You go hit Alpha while I distract the witch.>Turn around, we'll engage this witch together!>Other
>>38098238>>You go hit Alpha while I distract the witch.
>>38098238>Full speed! We'll hit Alpha while the witch is turning!
>>38098238>You go hit Alpha while I distract the witch.
>>38098238"Tiff, you keep going!" You yell as you flip off your M16's safety. "I'll distract this witch. If she's here that means Alpha is exposed. Take it out and then bug out. Do NOT wait for me!""R-right!" Tiff squeaks as she boosts back into supercruise. "All right." You grumble as you take aim at the approaching OPFOR witch. "Show me what you got."The OPFOR witch turns and flies at you head one, unleashing another burst of M16 fire. You boost the side to dodge and fire your weapon in response, trying to get a good deflection shot at the witch as she turns to get behind you."Pretty sharp reflexes for a bomber." You hear Holly chuckle"Holly?!" You gasp as you jink and juke to avoid the next few bursts. "You're here?""Hey, if you're going to be participating in the exercise, I thought I might as well, too!" Holly says happily as she slaps a fresh mag into her M16. "Let's see how well the Aardvarks can knife fight!"Damn. You seriously underestimated Holly's flight composition. You figured she'd just pit her trainee witches against you. "T-target destroyed!" Tiff announces. "Leaving the combat zone!"Well, at least Tiff was following orders. You didn't have time to check on Sam and Jen, so you just had to trust that they knew what they were doing as you dodge a few more rifle bursts. You respond with your own gunfire, but Holly performs a rapid climb, outpacing your stream of bullets as she gets into a better attack position. You quickly check your stopwatch. Thirty seconds left. No doubt Holly's other witches were coming in to assist soon.>Break off and try to outrun Holly.>You'll need to fight Holly to have a chance to escape.>Other
>>38098524>>Break off and try to outrun Holly."HEY LOOK! DEMONIC DUCK!"
>>38098524>You'll need to fight Holly to have a chance to escape.
>>38098524>Break off and try to outrun Holly.
>>38098524>Break off and run. Stealth bomber strategy 101.
>>38098524>>Break off and try to outrun Holly.
>>38098524Well, as far as you were concerned, mission was complete. All you needed to do now was to get the hell out of here. You just aim for on general direction and hit full power on your strikers, going supersonic. However, it was a delicate balance between powering your strikers or powering your shield, which was the only thing protecting you from Holly's precision fire. You wince as your shield blinks and sparks, repelling the bullets Holly was firing. "Just gonna run?" Holly taunts."Of course. Live to bomb another day!" You cackle. Holly couldn't catch you with her older Strike Eagle strikers. Not unless she was willing to sacrifice her shield to give it some extra juice. And soon enough, the rifle fire behind you becomes more sporadic and less accurate, until finally, Control announces."All attackers have exited the operational area. Good job, Aardvarks. That's all three targets destroyed with no losses.""Aw, finally! I can get these stupid things off-" Jen says as she pulls off her goggles, only for her unadjusted eyes face the full fury of the midday sun. "AAAAUUUUUGGGHHHH!"(cont)
>>38099027"I warned you about that." You sigh. You close your eyes before taking off your own goggles, waiting for your eyes to adjust."Ha, that was a good one there." Holly grins as she floats next to you and slaps your back. "I'm a bit jealous. Those strikers of yours have some serious speed.""Yeah, but it feels like it turns like a truck." You sigh. "And using these FB-22s is fucking EXHAUSTING.""But still, increased speed and stealth on top of that? I just can't wait till the fighter variants start getting circulated"! Holly laughs. "So anyways, what did you think my girls got wrong?""Well, first of all, you need to have your witches on patrol, well away from the targets." You point out. "If you stick close to the target, a fast bomber will be able to knock it out before you can shoot it down. Sure, you'll take out the bomber, but it would have already achieved its mission. You need to spread your witches out and get them out farther. If your witches would have spotted us before we were in position, we'd either have to commit to retreat. No way we'd get out of that unscathed. Plus, you're witches, for god's sake, not floating AA batteries!""I'll keep that in mind." Holly grins. "As for you, I think you rely on your speed way too much. You and your witches really need to learn some dogfighting."Heh, it seemed like Holly wanted a rematch. Then again, it's been a pretty long day, and your girls could use some rest...>Oh, is that a challenge?>Sure, I'll keep that in mind.>Other
>>38099040>>Sure, I'll keep that in mind.
>>38099040>>OtherMy girls are a little beat. But how about an exhibition match? Show them how things are done, just you and me?
>>38099040>Oh, is that a challenge?Fighting while tired is an extremely important skill
>>38099040>Sure, I'll keep that in mind.>Let's set up a schedule for some more training, you run my girls through dogfighting, I run yours through ground pounding
>>38099040>>Oh, is that a challenge?
>>38099040>Sure, I'll keep that in mind.
>>38099061sure lets do this
>>38099040>Oh, is that a challenge?
>>38099040>>Sure, I'll keep that in mind.if we must challenge her, we need to do it another time, both our fresh witches need rest and debriefing of the exercise
>>38099040"Sure, I'll keep that in mind." You nod and smile. "Come on, let's get out of these things and get something to eat.""Sounds like a plan." Holly nods and turns to her witches. "All right girls, that's it for today! Let's pack it up!"The girls cheer, a bit too enthusiastically, as you all head back to Torun South. After getting out of your strikers and taking a quick shower, you meet up with Holly on the tarmac."You know, I was kind of hoping that being on the main front and all, Torun would at least have better food than Alaska. I was so, SO wrong." Holly sighs. "They still serve that processed slop out here.""Ah yeah, I get that sometimes." You nod sympathetically. "That's usually why I cook sometimes to shake things up.""You can cook?!" Holly suddenly becomes uncomfortably close to you."Uhhhh, yeah." You say a bit nervously. "Mostly because I gotta take care of a bunch of brats, so I learned to cook a few things to keep them docile. Just simple shit, really. Spaghetti, stuff like that.""Um, d-do you think you could make something for us? Holly asks sheepishly, as if she were asking you on a date."Uhhhh, sure?" You blink in surprise. "Why, exactly?""BECAUSE I NEED TO EAT SOMETHING THAT ISN'T MESS HALL SLOP." Holly groans. "Ever since we lost our cook it's just been absolute suffering every mealtime!"(cont)
>>38099401"Really? What happened?" You blink. "Don't tell me she got KIA!""Nah, she got transferred out." Holly sighs. "I swear, if I ever see that Pierce fellow again, I'm gonna throttle the life out of him for stealing two of my best witches!""Whoa, hold up a second there!" You halt in your tracks. "You met a guy named Pierce in Alaska?""That's right." Holly nods.Oh boy. OH BOY. This was going to be awkward."Um, and what were the names of the two witches?" You ask warily."Janice and Tarin. They were a couple of my best." Holly sighs.Crap."Oh jeez, that's my brother." You sigh."Wait a minute, you mean-" The gears suddenly start clicking in place in Holly's head. "WHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAT!?""Small world, huh?" You crack a grin. "I take it you didn't leave on the best of terms?""Well, uh, I have to admit, I was a bit more... erm, 'abrasive', back then." Holly shifts nervously. "But still, it came out of nowhere, so I was more than a little peeved.""Well, I'll be sure to properly reprimand him if I ever talk to him again." You nod. "So, where are we headed?" Holly asks.>Might as well go to the mess hall.>Oh, what the hell. Let's cook something up for everyone!>Other
>>38099414>>Oh, what the hell. Let's cook something up for everyone!....SlowHollyPoke,jpg
>>38099414>Oh, what the hell. Let's cook something up for everyone!
>>38099414>>Oh, what the hell. Let's cook something up for everyone!
>>38099414>>Oh, what the hell. Let's cook something up for everyone!Stew, steak, shit on a shingle? What should we make?
>>38099414"Oh, what the hell, I guess I can break out the old cooking gear again." You grin. "You and some of your girls are free to come along. But not ALL of them! Cooking for a squadron is hard enough, and definitely am not at Janice's caliber!""Excellent!" You can see Holly's mouth begin to water. Jeez, how bad did these girls have it in all this time? You were definitely going to be having some words with Will next time you talked to him! Such a monster, depriving an entire wing of witches of their best cook!You decide to keep things simple. Just spaghetti and meatballs. Thankfully, you've managed to make a few friends outside of the base, giving you access to fresh ingredients that you could use, though it came at quite a high cost since the occupying and later retreating Soviet forces gobbled up whatever they could find.Lunch was still a hectic affair, though. Sure, you only had to cook for your girls and a few of Holly's, but it's been a while, and you had to deal with Jen always constantly trying to ambush you while you cooked, necessitating Sam to come and drag her out of the building to keep her away from you. And for a time, while everybody is gathered around the table, enjoying the food that you made with your own two hands, you all forgot that you were still in the middle of a war.>And that's it for tonight. Apologies if the thread is pretty short today but I'm honestly not really feeling it right now. However, that's it for Bree's sidestory, so expect some of the Best Germans next week! Also, don't forget Ace Combat on Friday and Cyberpunk Idols on Saturday!
>>38099755Thanks for the run, Merc. See you later.
>>38099755Thanks for the thread Merc, I'm looking forward to best germans
>>38099755Thanks for today boss, and thanks for the advice.
well, guys, I have the edited Raikov chapter in hand, you suppose I should post it, or wait till next week? haha
>>38099923may as well post it now, what major changes/edits are there other than the usual spelling/grammar stuff?
>>38099936none, really, but I know not everyone will have followed the pastebin link. I may sit on it till next weekend and just drop the link for anyone interested in the edited version.
>>38099923POST IT, YOU SLUT
>>38099957post it in the thread, figgit
>>38100077Edited, Ice afraid when?
Fine. It'll probably also go up next sunday, for the benefit of everyone else. ++Ivanna Raikov didn't want to get out of her bed. Last week had been tumultuous to say the least: the encounter with Volgin, her transfer—and the repeated issues her rookies were giving her. She'd gone to bed last night with her head pounding, wishing for enough alcohol to make it stop. She didn't have any, of course. Orlov had rationed her in an effort to prevent her from taking solace from it. The effort was completely unnecessary, but she didn't question it or complain. The simple fact was, she was still unused to the relative luxury she was being allowed to live in, even though she'd since seen that it was hardly unusual. Even her fellow witches, with their low rank and pathetic ability, had been afforded rooms similar to hers. Ivanna couldn't decide if that was just another example of Orlov caring for his troops, or an indicator that he was spoiling them. Either way, it suited her just fine. She rolled over, wrapping her blankets around her shoulders as she did so. It was too cold to get up—and there were no morning exercises planned for today, for a change. She knew she should get up and begin her laps, then her hour in the weight room, but she didn't see the harm in delaying another half hour or so. Her bed was just so deliciously warm... Her telephone snapped her back to reality, its harsh ringing shattering the pleasant nothingness of sleep. 'I must have drifted back to sleep,' she thouh as she groggily reached over, slapping at it once or twice without looking before sitting up with a sigh. Her blanket fel; away from her shoulders, letting the cold air raise gooseflesh all along her exposed torso.
>>38099923Post now you teasing fuck.
“Yes?” she said, knowing she sounded horrible. “Princess.” Orlov's voice was unlike she'd heard before—there was a sense of urgency in it. It blasted the dregs of sleep from her mind instantly. “I need you in my office. Now.” “Y-yes sir,” she said, noting he didn't take time to say anything else—she heard the click as he put his headset back on it's cradle before the words had even left her mouth. Being summoned to his office was usually not a terrifying experience—but his manner of doing so this time brought that fear out again. What had she done wrong?She dressed quickly, glad that her clothes were always where she left them. It had been a pleasant surprise, though she was slowly getting used to it. She worried, briefly, if it would make her soft. As she rushed into the corridor, heading for the stairs, she could almost hear Volgin's words in her mind. This treatment was dulling her edge, degrading her skills. Her reflexes wouldn't be as good, her physical prowess far below it's former heights under his command. She was more useless as a weapon than she'd ever been, save before his rescue of her. She shook the thought off. Those kinds of thoughts still came frequently, but more and more, she'd been able to dismiss them. Besides, Volgin would never take her back, not after what she'd done. At least, she hoped not. The heavy wood door to Orlov's office was closed, one of his guards posted outside. The man opened it for her as she approached, relieving her from having to knock. Inside, he colonel was joined by someone who looked achingly familiar—but still someone she couldn't place. Another witch: older, her blonde hair pulled back, the uniform jacket of a colonel draped around her shoulders. Curiously, she also wore uniform trousers. Ivanna had never seen that before.
“Reporting, as ordered, colonel!” she barked, snapping to attention and saluting. He spared a look away from the television mounted on the wall and nodded at her. “Good. Sit down, Princess. We have some questions for you.”She could hear the TV droning in the background—curiously, in English. It sounded like a news program. It was no great secret that military commanders, especially theater commanders, had access to the western news channels, though few ever utilized that access. Raikov could understand why: they were little more than western propaganda outlets, their 'news' little more than fabrications and lies. She spared a glance at it herself, twisting in her seat to watch a shaky camera footage of a trio of fighters tumbling through the sky: one of them, a western design, flying against—and fighting to a dead standstill—a pair of Aurora fighters. The western pilot's skill was inhuman. His aircraft described impossible patterns in the sky, arcs and lines and angles that shouldn't be possible, outflying the dozens of missiles sent forth by the first Aurora, while preventing the second from drawing a bead on him with the electromagnetic cannon it carried. She shuddered, almost regretful she'd selected ground strikers as her specialty. There was an opponent! The thought only lasted a moment: she already had a foe to focus her attention on, one more than worthy. Certainly better than some pilot, no matter how skilled he may be. Still, she almost felt envy for the pilots of the Auroras. She was snapped out of her thoughts by a sudden change in the scene, an American reporter, presumably talking about the footage she'd just watched. She looked back at Orlov, confused. “Sir?” she asked. “I don't understand—”
“Keep watching,” he said, indicating the TV again. She turned around and saw a pair of girls dressed in the cut-off flight suit of witch pilots, standing in front of a man leaning heavily on a witch who supported him. The girls looked to be 13 or 14, perhaps slightly less, almost all legs—too much so—and on the thin side. They looked hauntingly familiar to her too. Just seeing them made her vaguely uncomfortable, a feeling made worse when they both gripped the man as if their lives depended upon it, the tears on their faces only just visible through the zoom of the camera. His free arm dropped down to one of their backs and—the TV went black.Raikov turned back to face Orlov and the witch. “Princess, I expect you know well enough to keep anything we discuss in here between us. Do you know anything about what you just watched?” She shrugged. “Western propaganda—” “Has nothing to do with this!” he exclaimed, slamming a fist on his desk. She shrank back at the unexpected outburst. She'd never heard him like that. “Did you not see? Those girls, they were the pilots of our fighters. Children! Children flying against the Butcher!” He was visibly angry. His fist clenched and unclenched rhythmically, in time with his breathing. “T-that was—” “The Butcher, yes,” he said, calming down, standing up and walking away from his desk. Raikov attempted to watch him without moving her head—he was kind enough to remain in her line of sight. “But he is not what we are discussing.”
“We are curious, though, sister,” the witch said—the first she'd spoken since Raikov had arrived here, “as to why two witches who so clearly surrendered or defected would be unknown.”“I don't understand,” Raikov responded, a doubt starting to creep it's way into her mind. “Why should traitors be known?” Perhaps they had been captured, but from what she'd seen, that was extremely unlikely. Few people, if any, would hug their captors. She was willing to make a small allowance for the age of the girls—they did appear to be very young—but only a small one. The woman laughed, and shook her head. “I forget that you have been isolated from us for so long. News travel among witches, yes?” Her laughter dying away. A shame, Raikov thought—she'd liked this woman's laugh. “Especially when witch pilots are involved. There are not many of us that can claim such distinction.” “Tell us, Princess,” Orlov said, turning to face her. “What do you know of Directorate Sixty?”The name caused Raikov to freeze. “Directorate s-sixty?” she asked, attempting to cover her concern. She knew of it, of course—most of Volgin's work post-Afghanistan had been for the directorate. His involvement had translated into missions for her—missions she'd rather not remember. Missions, the doubt in her mind said, that would be brought up, here and now. “The western press is, of course, accusing us of forcing children to take on dangerous combat roles,” Orlov said. “Most of us are just as horrified as they are. However, it is a problem, especially if they have found a way to get these children to surrender without a fight.”“And especially if these children are returning to combat roles,” the witch added. Raikov snapped her head around to look at the woman, who nodded. “We believe it has already happened. On this front, no less.”
“That makes the western dogs just as bad!” Raikov exclaimed. “They would call us monsters, then do the same as we do?” The woman shrugged. “The problem isn't in the propaganda. The problem is these children's capabilities. The two you just saw fought the butcher to a draw. Our best pilots and witches cannot do this.” She pointed at the now dark TV. “They did.” “We need to know what you know about them, about whatever program or project spawned them.” Orlov said, having moved around behind her to his liquor cabinet. She could hear him opening it up and bringing out the glasses. “We need to know what kind of threat we face here.”“What threat?” Raikov asked. “They are children, they can be removed—”“We are not monsters,” Orlov stated, harshly. “We do not attack children in their beds.” The memory of doing just that exploded in Raikov's head. The girl's familiar features suddenly matched up—she knew them. She knew what she had done to them. She shook her head in denial—not of what Orlov had said, but of the memory. Useless as the gesture was, she had to try. She saw pity on their features. Orlov, who'd been ever vigilant about her alcohol intake, set the bottle down next to her, an upturned glass next to it. “Help yourself, Princess,” he said, gesturing to it. She shook her head. Why should she be forced to dig up these memories? Could they not see what that would do, how badly that would hurt her? Volgin had required an achingly precise debriefing from her after every one of those missions: ones that had bothered her even then. She'd drank heavily after each of them, sure that nothing could ever really erase their stain on her. The fewer people that knew, the better.
She looked up at the two of them, pleadingly. “Please?” she asked—the rest of her intended message clear. She didn't want to do this—not even for Orlov, to whom she owed so much. Anything but this. He shook his head, the plaintive note in her voice causing his features to soften. “I am sorry Princess,” he said, sitting at his desk again while the witch took a seat in the couch along the wall. “We must know.”Raikov sighed and took the bottle. She'd need it. “We were visited by a general, Major General Lagounov,” she began. “This was shortly after Afghanistan. I had been serving Volgin for almost a year.”The witch nodded. “I have heard his name before. He is connected to Directorate Sixty and Program Seven Hundred.” “This is the same Lagounov,” Raikov confirmed. “He had a proposition for the colonel. He needed operatives to perform work for him, and the colonel's unit had been suggested. I had been suggested.” She stressed the I, taking some pride in that. Even now, she still took pride in it, even after everything it had meant. “The colonel was only too happy to accept,” she continued, taking a drink. “The position put him in a good place to begin building up his own importance. He later assumed control of several research and development projects.”Orlov looked over at the other witch, who nodded. “Inside of Directorate Sixty, he's quite important, and in charge of several of the Seven Hundred series projects,” she said. “It surprised me he'd attained that in a few years while coming in as an outsider. And from security, at that.” Raikov shook her head. “Not security. Operations.” The older witch nodded. “Ah, that makes more sense.”
“He established his reputation for successful missions early. I was assigned the most troublesome,” Raikov continued. “Project Six Hundred Twelve. The objective was to mate young witches with very specific talents to tailor-built fighter aircraft, equipped with the best technology we had available. This is all I learned of it. My assignments didn't require me knowing any more than that and the specifics of each mission.”She leaned back, tilting her head toward the ceiling and staring at it. “Silke Klossner and Karla Weiss. They were the first two.” She looked back down at Orlov, straight at him, not even attempting to hide the tears growing in her eyes. “The two you saw on the television. I am sure of it.” “Germans?” the witch asked. Raikov nodded. “They had the talent necessary for the program. There were others, but enough existed within our borders that only those two were necessary. It was assumed that the westerners would put together the existing data and better protect similar witches afterwords anyway, so only those two made suitable targets.” She sighed. “What do you mean, targets?” Orlov asked. “Did you—”“I forcibly entered their homes and abducted them, turning them over to the Directorate.” Raikov said, slightly too quickly. The stab of pain in her heart was nothing but a taste of what was coming, she was sure—but she didn't stop. Part of her felt she owed those girls that much. She owed them at least telling someone else what happened, perhaps someone who could and would see to it that no other girl would suffered similarly. That hope, she realized, was all she'd have to carry her on soon enough. “This was on the Directorate's orders?” the witch asked again. Orlov hadn't commented, and Raikov couldn't judge his response. He'd been outraged by the use of the girls as pilots, but surely this was worse.
She nodded. “Yes. The girls available within the country, of course, didn't require such measures. These were the only two that did.” “And you were sent to do it.” Not a question. Just a repetition of what had already been said. An affirmation. Raikov nodded again. “Yes. Colonel Volgin gave me the mission when it became clear a conventional team could not have done it.”“Did you plan the operation?” Orlov asked. “No,” she responded, shaking her head. “General Lagounov had left the planning to the people who would execute it, but Colonel Volgin didn't trust my ability enough to allow me to plan it myself. He saw to it personally.”She took another drink—Colonel Orlov's vodka was exceptional and deserved to be treated better than this. But the alcohol was helping, and she desperately needed all the help she could get. “Originally, he had planned for me to abduct them between their school and their homes. When it became apparent that that plan would not work due to where they lived, a home invasion became necessary,” Raikov continued. “He ordered me to go in at night, abduct the targets, and leave the area.” “That sounds remarkably straightforward for him,” the witch said to Orlov. “I'm shocked she wasn't ordered to kill the families to help cover it up or sow terror or something equally idiotic.”
“My orders didn't allow for much personal decision or initiative,” Raikov said, continuing past the minor interruption. These technical details were easy—simple. Cold, hard fact. “I was to defend myself and complete the mission via any means necessary, but otherwise collateral damage was to be kept to an absolute minimum. Once I had the first, I was to remove her to a KGB safehouse in Berlin, then wait several days while she was moved from the country by them. Once I had the second target, I would be moved along a pipeline set up by the KGB along with her back to Russia.” “This doesn't sound like a mission for a combat witch,” Orlov said, looking over at the older woman. “It sounds like something for a KGB agent. Or agents.” Raikov nodded. “It was. Colonel Volgin sent me because he wished to prove his unit could accomplish anything needed of it without involving more significant KGB assets. The safehouse and its staff, of course, were KGB, as was the pipeline set up to move us out of the country, but no field agents were used and everything was controlled through the Directorate.” “So, what happened?” Orlov asked. “I'm getting the impression that things were not as easy as you'd first anticipated.” Raikov looked at the ceiling again, losing herself in the memory. “It was foggy....”
It was foggy this time of night in Berlin—the river Spree saw to that, especially this close. These people lived along it's bank, their home in the very heart of this city. Such displays of personal wealth were supposed to be an indication of everything wrong with the western system, and she'd seen the lower-income housing near the airport when she'd flown in from Poland—but that had never bothered her much, if at all. The simple fact was that the ideological differences between her nation and this one didn't concern her. She had a job to do, the why of it didn't matter. The river itself was quiet. She'd seen plenty of traffic pass along it: small river craft exclusively, but at night, it died down, most of the traffic being sightseeing tours. That suited her fine; there were some small craft still tied to piers below, should she need them for her escape. She doubted she would. A parked, rented car under a cover name was nearby, readied specifically for the operation. She could drive it to the safe house, were it would be dismantled and the parts sold in an effort to both cover up the operation and help recoup part of the costs. The KGB wasted little. She'd been here a week, flown in after 'dropping off,' as they'd called it, in Warsaw, Poland. She'd spent a week there in a safehouse, having several sets of identity documents forged, and being briefed on her 'job' as a 'tourist' to the city of Berlin. She'd taken several river tours, careful to note what she could without paying too much attention to any one area, and spent as much time as she could in the areas near her target's homes. She'd seen them, once or twice: little girls, no older than 10 or 11, one with that silver-white hair unique to witches and aquamarine eyes, the other with a reddish-brown tangle atop her head, her eyes almost matching it in color.
She unconsciously shuddered at the thought. She'd already learned to fear his displeasure—occasionally, she'd considered that death may have been the better choice. If he'd been a second later, perhaps she wouldn't have to do these things—but the burden would have to fall to someone else, she knew, and she was strong enough to bear it when another might crack under the pressure. This was one of the few compliments the colonel would give her. She was strong. She could take it. She had to.The house was on the left, one of the short row of townhouses here. Her target's bedroom was at the back—she'd have to go through the house proper to get to it. That would complicate matters, at least for the first few seconds. Her magic would be a powerful tool here, and using a flight witch trick would slow her fall from a second story window. But it still left a bit of running to do, especially if something went wrong with the plan. And something almost always went wrong with plans. Reaching the end of the row, she turned down the street, looking left and right furtively—looking for movement, sound, anything. At this point, Ivanna would have been happy with any reason to cancel the mission: too many people, perhaps a police car passing by, anything. What she was about to do—have to do—sickened her, but she had no choice. Her nation needed this, she knew—the colonel and General Lagounov were crystal clear on this point. They'd suffered so badly in the war against the martians and now the west stood poised to cost them just as much if something weren't done to redress the balance in the air. These girls were a part of that solution. As distasteful as it was, it had to be done for the good of the Soviet Union.
Working quickly, Raikov removed her outer layer of clothes, revealing a form-fitting, dull black sneak suit. She wore her equipment harness over it, her PB/6P9 pistol in it's holster on her right, and a silenced Kiparis SMG hanging between her breasts. Such firepower would, hopefully, be completely unnecessary—she'd felt carrying it was something of a waste, but didn't complain too much when her on-site handler had insisted. Her knife hung on the front of her gear, along with a pouch containing the sedatives specifically for this target. They'd been prepared beforehand by a specialist and would, ideally, keep the target unconscious long enough for her to be deposited at the first safe house. The rest of the equipment was simple, almost mundane. A small first aid kit rode on her left hip, while a pair of incendiary devices hung off her belt. While collateral damage was to be kept to a minimum, it had been defined differently than she was used to. The building was to be burnt down, if possible, to help cover her tracks. Even the best forensic analyst would have difficulty determining the fire wasn't accidental—and by the time they had, she'd be long gone, safely back in Russia. Unknown. Untouchable. Nothing else, thankfully, had been necessary. Night vision gear was useless and cumbersome, her familiar providing her with far superior senses. She'd learned to hide the tell-tale blue glow of an emerging familiar and the muted pop was almost no noise at all—but it still sounded like a gunshot to her. Too loud. Always too loud. If anyone saw her now, she knew, her options were to abandon the mission and attempt to escape, or kill them as well. Killing adults, she could handle—and besides, who should be out in this cold at this time of night? She laughed inwardly at that. No one who was up to any good.
The townhouse, set so close to the river, lacked a basement. While it did rob her of a potential point of entry, in the end it made her job much simpler. A basement safe room would be troublesome, to say the least—probably to the point where she'd have to use her magic to defeat it, which would be far too loud. Likewise, going in through the roof was probably out of the question: no hatch. It would take too long and be far, far too loud. She'd have to settle for a window. Briefly, she cursed Volgin for sending her on this mission. This was the job of a KGB operative, one trained for this kind of thing, not her. She was a weapon for use on the battlefield—not a kidnapper skulking in the shadows. Well, she was, she amended. Right now, she was a kidnapper, not a weapon. The window gave without much trouble, the simple latch no match for her enhanced strength. While the talent was closely linked with German witches—ironically enough—it wasn't unheard of elsewhere. It was somewhat amusing, though, using a 'German' talent against Germans—or would have been, had she not been wary of her surroundings. The house was dark. She couldn't hear movement, at least not of humans. A small animal—perhaps a cat—was up on the next floor, but down here the only noise was that of a few appliances. A refrigerator hummed in the corner, a wall clock ticking away on the wall nearby. The range was natural gas—a lucky break in her favor. She took a moment to turn on all four burners, making sure that none of them actually lit but spread natural gas through the house. She set one of the incendiary devices nearby, setting the timer for fifteen minutes—plenty of time to do this.
She stepped carefully though the house, mindful of making too much noise. Even mundane people could detect small noises in the quiet—one loose floorboard, one squeaky step, and she could be in for a fight. She didn't expect much of one, of course—even the police would take time to muster a response that could take her—but she'd rather avoid any kind of confrontation. She'd rather not have to kill anybody else. Things were bad enough as it was.The second story of the home contained the living room, along with a small bathroom and a reading area to the front. She cleared each methodically, using her acclimated vision to sweep each room carefully before moving on. She didn't expect trouble—it would have had to have been an extremely well placed deep-cover operative to blow this mission—but that didn't mean she wasn't prepared for it. Rapid movement from the corner of her eye caused her to rapidly swivel, acquiring the target, finger already tightening on the trigger—the sound of the gunfire would be almost nonexistent with her muffling it—and stopped. A housecat stalked off, having jumped from it's perch atop a shelf, startled by her presence. She spared a moment to laugh at herself mentally, but continued on her way, sparing a hopeful thought that the cat was leaving the house. The rest of this floor spoke of a generally quiet urban family: a few pictures, a book shelf full of titles she couldn't read. She tried not to look at the pictures, attempting to isolate herself from these people. As she glanced over them, she couldn't help but feel a pang of regret. They looked happy together.
She climbed the next set of stairs quietly, carefully. Up here, she knew, would be the bedrooms. Up here was the hardest part. The halls weren't bare—more pictures, more imagined, silent eyes pleadingly looking at her, trying to convince her this was wrong. She shook it off. This was, on the whole, a small price to ask: one family, and she could spare thousands of her countrymen, thousands of other families—Russian families—from being similarly destroyed. General Lagounov had been quite clear about it—but it was hard to remember while silently creeping through a family's life. The first door was her target's room. This was the first, the redhead. Silke Klossner. She'd been listed as a witch by the German Coven, though she was still too young to take the academy entrance tests. Another year, perhaps two. Not that it mattered anymore—the Directorate would see to it that she was well-educated. Quietly, though still entirely too loudly for her own satisfaction, Raikov let her SMG hang while she reached into the pouch to pull out the syringe with the sedative. She pulled the protective cap off with another gloved hand, careful to pocket it. The less evidence that was left, the better—despite knowing the place would be going up in flames soon, that was no guarantee that there wouldn't be something left to track her with.
Putting one hand gently over the girl's mouth and pinning her quarry's arm with a knee, Raikov pushed the needle gently into the girl's smooth, pale skin. Hey eyes opened with a start, her inhaled breath sucking against Raikov's gloved palm in fright and surprise. She locked eyes with Ivanna for a second as the plunger pushed home, flooding her veins with sedative. She thrashed but briefly—then was unconscious. So far, Rakiov thought, so good. Ivanna suddenly heard movement outside, in the hall. Human movement. She cursed herself as she twisted, quickly, looking behind herself at the door—it had been shut when she'd come in, now it was left open. A simple, rookie mistake, one of pure oversight and haste. One that would cost her—she couldn't move the child yet, especially not now. A sharp intake of breath told her all she needed to know—He'd turned the corner. He'd seen her there. She spun in place, her hands already dropping for the SMG on her chest. As she pivoted, she was careful to release her knee's pressure on the child—careful not to damage her. The silenced weapon spoke with barely a whisper, the man charging across the room at her taking two hits to the chest and staggering in place before the recoil sent the next three into his neck, jaw, and forehead, blowing out the back of his cranium in a messy welter of gore. That was bad— the fire wouldn't consume everything, and the rest would be identifiable. She'd been sloppy in her surprise; the bullets had hit bone. They'd leave marks.
>>38100871Just a little niggle, seeing how Raikov is, well, a she, shouldn't her surname be Raikova?
A scream from down the hall sent her sprinting, her weapon up. The mother had gotten up as well, damn all the luck. She'd seen what happened: her husband's death. He'd been brave, Raikov would admit, but he never had a chance. The woman made no move to defend herself, her initial scream having dissolved into hysterical sobbing. She didn't even see Raikov raise her weapon to pump three rounds into her head, joining her husband in whatever afterlife they believed in. Briefly, Raikov considered moving them closer to each other, then shook the thought out of her head. Pointless semantics and the dead didn't care, she was sure. Returning to the girl's room, she quickly pulled a roll of tape from her webbing and freed a large, folded bag with the other. She had to work quickly now: even the off chance someone would have heard the woman's screams was too much. She taped the girl's wrists and ankles and, after a moment of thought, gagged her as well, using a shirt found in a closet. The girl's body had gone totally limp with the drug, so moving her took some effort. But after a moment's struggle to free her from the tangle of her sheets, Raikov placed her inside the bag and zipped it up. She quickly threw the pack on her back, stepping over the man's body in the hall, her weapon still up in front of her. There was no further movement in the house—the cat, it appeared, had taken his chance to leave. Raikov briefly wished it well, set the other incendiary device near the stove, and exited via the back door, closing it behind her. She'd have gone through the same window she'd come in from, but the weight on her back precluded that. She couldn't risk injuring the child.
Got some stuff from Larro.SW89 related.
>>38100931and we have a face with Frank!
Down the back steps into the tiny yard and the foggy night, under the elevated railroad tracks and into the waiting car. She quickly put the bag into the cramped back seat along with her SMG before climbing in the driver's seat. She started it up, driving away into the night.
Orlov and the witch were quiet. Raikov thought she'd done well: she hadn't openly cried, though Orlov's vodka was more than half gone. “It sounds as if it went smoothly,” the witch said, the first she'd spoken in the twenty minutes it had taken for Raikov to tell the tale. “It was—I made mistakes,” Ivanna replied. “If I am honest, I should have dealt with the parents first, perhaps found a... cleaner way.” She shook her head. “Nothing came of it,” the witch pointed out. “They never discovered what happened.”“They did,” Raikov corrected. “Eventually. The colonel followed their news for some time afterwords. I was punished when the Berlin police ruled it a homicide. They never found the body of the little girl, of course, but they didn't stop looking for almost eighteen months.” “But it was never connected to Russia,” Orlov said, his voice betraying no emotion. Raikov shook her head. “It didn't matter. I was sloppy, we both knew it. Had I been thinking correctly, I would have made sure to kill them in such a way there was nothing to find. Instead, I was careless and the police were able to make some leads.” “What happened after you had her?” the witch asked.
“We traveled to the embassy and were met by a local guide. He was KGB, and directed us to the safehouse. I turned the girl over to the operative there as I had been ordered to, and she was smuggled out of the country aboard a yacht to Leningrad. From there I do not know.” “Was there increased vigilance immediately after this?” the witch asked, leaning forward. Raikov shook her head again. “No. The Berlin police investigated the fire, of course, but the incendiaries were well constructed and left no trace. It was considered a terrible accident for several weeks, and was only considered a homicide after the coroner saw the bodies. By then I had returned to Russia. ”“So after the first girl was captured, what were your orders?” Orlov asked. “I was to wait. My other target was further away, and the trail had to be covered,” Raikov responded. Again, this didn't hurt as much: simple factual statements, the outline of the mission, things she was ordered to do. The alcohol helped. “And this second target was Karla Weiss?” the witch asked. Raikov nodded. “Yes. She was the other with the talent that the project required. She was the more difficult of the two. Her family's money allowed them a home on lake Tegel. This complicated matters, especially extraction of the target.” “Were they on an island?” Orlov asked.
Ivanna shook her head. “No. The home was on the northwestern bank but had several neighbors and was near a popular boating route. While it was to be done at night, there was significantly more risk of being seen, and a fire wasn't expected to completely destroy the home as it had before.” She took another drink. “This meant there could be much more significant difficulty in dealing with the bodies. Initially, I planned to weigh them down and dispose of them in the lake, but it was possible there would be too many witnesses to make that practical.”“So you relied on something else?” It wasn't really a question, despite how Orlov made it sound. Ivanna nodded. “Yes. I carried several magnesium devices.”“Mag—” Orlov shook his head. “How did they not discover residue of these?” To his credit, Raikov thought, he was attempting to understand—he sounded angry, but she wasn't sure at what, or whom. “They were designed and built specifically for the operation,” Raikov responded. “We constructed them there at the safe house, then hid them. I waited ten days there before the weather would allow me to complete my duty.”“Ten days?” the witch asked. Raikov nodded again. “Yes. We needed it to rain...”
>>38100892Her first name is Ivanna so no.
>>38101015Ah so that's how it works. Never mind then.
The rain was miserable and cold, pouring down from heavy clouds and obscuring everything behind a gray curtain. The driver, a KGB man, picked his way slowly through the city towards the southern end of the lake. It was dark, nearly 2300 hours, and the traffic was light. It had been over a week since the first part of the operation, and that child had been removed safely from Berlin. While her eventual fate and disposition didn't concern Raikov, the staff of the safe house had told her the girl had arrived safely in Leningrad, where she was handed over to the project staff. The news had pleased her—her mission was a success. The local news, of course, had covered the fatal house fire that had claimed a young family, but there wasn't a hint of wrongdoing, simply a terrible tragedy. She'd tried to ignore that when it had turned up, but morbid curiosity had driven her to read most of the coverage, such as it was. The police saw no evidence of wrongdoing, but the bodies had been so badly damaged by the fire that it could be some time before anything concrete could be ascertained. Raikov felt she'd be long out of country by then, and even if she wasn't, no one had seen her enter or leave.
Even with the limited traffic, it took them another thirty minutes to reach a place to park and hide their vehicle. The bed of their rented truck held an inflatable boat, carefully rolled and strapped down. Approaching from the lake had its share of risks, but the weather would help mitigate them and make the exfiltration easier: her escape vehicle would already in place on the other side of the river, waiting for her. They parked the truck back off the road, far enough that they couldn't see it, and waited. A 747 thundered by, close overhead, it's gear down, lights shining through the rain. Without speaking, the two of them gathered the equipment and set off, crossing the road and heading for an empty stretch of shore. The weather made the walk seem longer then the three quarters of a kilometer that it was, simply by dint of the cold rain and the rising wind. The storm had been forecast days in advance, and was still blowing in. Hopefully, Raikov thought, it would cover her long enough to finish this distasteful business and head home. She slipped into her equipment as the agent inflated the boat. They were largely the same as the ones he had the last time, except both of her weapons, along with the pouch containing the sedative and her bag of incendiary devices, were all waterproofed. She also carried a small oxygen tank and a breathing apparatus for the second half of her approach. Made of pressed, waxed paper, the tank wouldn't last very long, and only held a few minutes of air: more than enough for the short swim she'd have to make, but not enough for anything else.
She found herself wishing for strikers. Even a set of lightweight units, like BRDMs, would be perfect, allowing her to hit her targets in a way of her choosing, shoot her way in and out, and outclass anything outside a tank platoon. She had to remind herself this was not that kind of operation. She donned a poncho over her gear to at least make an effort to keep the rain off her. She said nothing as she stepped in the inflatable boat and the KGB operative returned the favor, pushing it off and jumping in, taking the steering tiller in hand and guiding them towards the island where he'd drop her. The glowing hands of her watch, concealed under the a glove, told her the time as they arrived at the island. The weather was progressively getting worse, the wind beginning to whip the lake up, the waves becoming noticeable by the time they'd made it to the island. It had taken them a little over an hour—it was 0012 now. She expected to begin at 0030, taking her time to swim to the target. The KGB man nodded at her as she slipped into the water. She returned the gesture as he motored back south. The boat, as well as the truck, would be driven out of country later by a different operative, possibly to be destroyed, possibly to be sold. It was none of her concern either way. These men knew their jobs, that much she was willing to admit, and she was glad for it.
Below the surface of the lake, things were calmer. Fish glided away from her while lake weeds drifted lazily in the wate below. It was dark and loud above, the rain really starting to hammer down now. She'd had to ditch the poncho—she'd miss it soon enough. Briefly, she regretted that her familiar hadn't had more of an affinity for water—wolves weren't known for swimming. She broke the surface a few minutes later, the muzzle of her SMG breaking through the water first, then the top of her head and her eyes. It was, as she suspected, quiet: between the waves buffeting her head, she could see no movement on the grounds. Almost no light, either—another good sign. She slowly cleared the water, leaving behind the disposable oxygen tank, its outer layer already beginning to degrade in the constant immersion. The mask had been constructed to sink—she flung it into the lake as far as she could—even if it was dredged up, it wouldn't appear to be anything other than another piece of trash. She hoped the KGB operative had made it back to the truck and was leaving the city, though that was outside her concern. She wasn't even headed back to the same safe house after she was done here; her contact a different man entirely.
The house was impressive: three floors, surrounded by well-kept gardens and lawns, and surmounted by a red tile roof—certainly, this family had money. That had been indicated in her briefing as well. The Weiss family had ties to the German aerospace industry and it was possible, though unlikely, they'd have private security here. Armed guards meant trouble, though Raikov didn't have as many reservations about dealing with them as she did about removing the families. They were men paid to be in harm's way: if harm befell them, that was simply a hazard of the job. The house was dark. Raikov felt a glimmer of hope at that: she'd planned to handle things differently this time, and remove the family first. Harsh, but necessary—and all but ordered by Volgin. Oh, he hadn't officially amended it to her orders, true, but it's what he'd meant, he'd made that much clear. Ss she cut her way through a ground level window and slipped inside, wary of any security system, she wondered why he'd order this. After all, she could accomplish this completely silently—no one really needed to die at all. The first family had been an error, a mistake on her part. She'd learned, and he'd never be the wiser for it. Still, she slowly swept the bottom floors. The remains of a fire sat in the great fireplace in the front room, a few embers still glowing with heat and light. There was no other sign of life out there, but it did make her wary: someone had just recently gone to bed, and may still lie awake somewhere. She'd have to be extra careful.
As she set her limited supply of standard incendiary devices, she was thankful for the all-wood construction. She'd brought others, specifically for dealing with bodies: she wasn't looking forward to using them, but they'd ensure a clean, destructive burn. She wasn't sure what the police would find here. They were almost sure to rule it as foul play, but it was unlikely anyone would link it to her mission, or even her nation. The Weiss family had made enemies in the past, she knew that—perhaps one of them would be blamed? Clearing the first floor took the better part of an hour. Nothing was moving down here, and after she'd set her incendiaries, she moved up the stairs. The second floor would contain the remainder of the living and entertaining spaces; the third would hold the bedrooms she needed to reach. Still, she swept the second floor as methodically as the first, only moving on when she was satisfied nobody was in any of the rooms down here. The third floor was more of a challenge, as it had been before. The sheer size of the house meant that she'd have to search each room—with no idea of the girl's room, there was no telling what she'd find.
The first door opened into an office. Bookshelves lined both walls, while the back wall, behind the desk, was occupied by a pair of large windows and a painted portrait of a man in a Luftwaffe uniform. Raikov's uneasiness disappeared a bit at that: men like that had killed plenty of Russians before the aliens had come. If she were to leave this witch here, she'd no doubt grow into a great enemy of the people as well: twisted, tainted by her family. Ivanna took great pleasure in adhering one of her last incendiary devices to the bottom of that portrait. The next room she opened was the master bedroom. The couple sleeping there were the parents of the girl—Ivanna recognized them from the pictures in her briefing dossier. Her pistol spat twice—neither of them made so much as a sound when they died. She'd have to return to set the burn here, though she felt it was probably unnecessary: their bed would destroy anything remotely useful to the police when it burned around their bodies. Several other rooms remained uninhabited. While they were decorated, it was clear they were used to entertain guests, not family. They lacked the warmth, the intimacy of a private room, their furnishings carefully tasteful and sterile. They didn't matter to her, empty as they were. She passed through them quickly, looking for the girl.
At the end of the hall, she opened the door into another room. The sounds of sleep caught her. The girl lay in her bed, peacefully dreaming, unaware of the crime being committed against her. Raikov briefly considered drugging her and leaving—the fire would surely claim anyone else here, and it wasn't as if she hadn't carried out her orders. The girl's parents were dead, their bodies cooling in their bed—not a bad way to die, everything considered. There were worse ways to go than in your own bed and quickly. Still, her professionalism, such as it was, demanded she check the rest of the rooms. The girl could go nowhere, not without passing down this hall, and Raikov would hear her if she tried. She continued clearing rooms. The last room she checked contained an elderly woman—perhaps the grandmother? It didn't matter, of course—she was family, and had to be disposed of. Raikov fired three pistol rounds into her: two into her heart, one into her head. She didn't even awake; her body simply went utterly limp, the blood soaking into the covers. She noticed a picture of the elderly woman hanging on the wall as she make her way out of the room: her legs in a pair of strikers, a uniform about her shoulders and a mauser in her hands. A witch—one who'd fought against the alien menace, no doubt. Ivanna felt a brief stab of guilt; she'd killed another sister witch, perhaps a matron. She'd have felt worse about it, had the German witches not killed so many of her people before the aliens had come. She was sure this witch had sent many young Soviet aviators to their deaths, long ago.
Finding no other evidence of anyone in the house, she returned to the girl's room and quickly sedated her, the needle finding its mark quickly and painlessly. This one didn't even awake—there was a quick hitch in her breathing, then it returned to the slow, even pace it had a second ago. Taking no chances, Raikov bound her as she had the first, putting her in the carry bag and putting it on. She was glad these children weighed next to nothing—though she still wished for strikers. Back across the top floor, she placed her magnesium devices on the bodies, watching to make sure they ignited. The extreme heat of their reaction would destroy both the device and most of the evidence of the gunshot wounds, leaving almost nothing to work with. She had to quickly retreat as the fire spread: once the devices in the rest of the house went up, this place would burn to the ground.
Downstairs and out. The place was beginning to burn now, a few smoke alarms ringing out their unheard warning to the house's occupants. It took her a second to orient to where the retrieval vehicle was: with water retrieval out, she was forced to move over a kilometer through the forest towards the road. Her timing was alright; she could easily wait for the few minutes she'd need before it arrived. When it did, it was a nondescript blue van. She wasn't sure it was the correct one until it stopped and the driver got out, kicking the back tire twice and the front one once. Still, she kept her weapon leveled at him as she approached. Only dropping it after they'd exchanged identifiers. The man opened the doors to the back of the van and she jumped in as he climbed into the driver's seat. For some reason, as she sat on the floor, she let the bag with the girl rest on her lap. That made her feel better, somehow.
“And that was the last you ever saw of her until now?” Orlov asked, breaking the silence. She nodded. “Yes. We were separated for exfiltration. I was moved again to Bonn, then out of the country via the sea. She was flown out with the ambassador, I was told later.” “And it was totally successful?” he asked. “No implications against us?” “None,” she said. The other witch looked at her for a second, but held her tongue. “They ruled it foul play almost immediately, but no connection was ever made to the Soviet Union. It was widely believed to be something related to industry. ““Were you punished again?” the witch asked. Raikov nodded. “I was sloppy. I deserved it. We should have taken the time to sink the bodies; they didn't attempt to dredge the lake until much later, and by then they would have found nothing.” She took another drink of vodka—it was almost gone now. “But you were successful,” Orlov stated, flatly. Raikov nodded, the tears forming in her eyes again. “I was.” “Princess—” he said, shooting a look at the older witch while Raikov tilted her head back again, attempting to let gravity help hold the tears back. “I'm a monster!” she sobbed. “I should have never killed them like that! I was so scared of what the colonel would do to me I didn't stop to think! I justified it to myself using the excuses those men gave me. I was protecting Russians by doing this, I was serving the motherland.”
“Princes—” Orlov tried again, as the tears began to mark their path down the sides of her head and into her hair. “A monster! I killed them! I wiped out two families and turned two girls too young for the academy over to God only knows what!” she wailed. “I burnt down their homes and shot them in their beds!” “You were under orders—” the witch tried, clearly uncomfortable. “Volgin never ordered me to kill them all,” Raikov said, her breathing becoming irregular. “He made sure I knew he wanted me to, of course, and knew he would punish me if I didn't. But he never ordered it.” “Volgin is a snake, and he'll hang when this is all over,” Orlov said. “Is there anything else, Princess? You said they were the first two—” Raikov nodded, numbly. “I was involved with one more. Laika Kaidanovsky.”“Kaidanovsky,” Orlov breathed. “That wasn't an accident?” Raikov shook her head. “They refused to release their daughter on the grounds she had that birth defect and couldn't serve in strikers. The program disagreed. Our pilots didn't need legs at all. They were... removed.” “You sabotaged their aircraft?” the witch asked. Raikov nodded, numb. “And their ejection seats. There was no way to recover the aircraft and there was no way to escape it. They crashed after takeoff. Neither survived, and their daughter became a ward of the state and was placed in the project shortly thereafter.” She paused. “I killed Russians. I am as bad as Volgin.”
“Ivanna—” Orlov said, his voice gentle. “You didn't know what you were doing, your mind was clouded by Volgin—”“I knew exactly what I was doing!” she screamed. “I justified it, I said the loss of two pilots would save thousands more! I said killing two families would protect millions. I justified it! I am as bad as Volgin!”“You acted under orders, did you not?” the witch said, her voice sharp. Raikov nodded. “Yes, but—” “Do you care to describe what sort of punishment Volgin would use on you, had you not carried out his wishes?” she asked. Repressed terrors hammered at her mind. She shook her head, fearfully, as much in denial as in an effort to get rid of them. “As I see it, you did not have a choice. What you did was terrible, but you did not do so for personal gain,” she said, her voice more soothing now. “Volgin did. Volgin always has.” “I killed mothers and fathers in their beds,” Raikov whispered. “I sabotaged one of our own fighters to kill its pilots.” “And if you had not, what would have happened?”“I—” She broke down again, hanging her head and covering her face with her hands. Once, for this, she'd have been beaten. A weapon did not cry, not like this, especially not so shamefully in front of her commander and his guest. Orlov stood up, walking over to her. He didn't raise a hand. Instead, he pulled her to him, embracing her, whispering in her ear. “We have all done things we are not proud of, Ivanna,” he said as she sobbed, slumping helplessly against him. “You've helped more than you realize by telling us all this. Thank you.” It wasn't enough—it wasn't anything even close to enough. But it was something, and that was more than she was used to. She clung to him harder, and wished she'd never gotten out of bed.
>>38101201RaikovRaikov noo pls
and that's the end of chapter 3. Like I said, no major content changes, just punctuation and some light editing Still, for anyone who's just now getting to read it, hope you enjoyed, and there's a pastebin link herehttp://pastebin.com/u/GhostdivisionIf you want to read them again later. Other than that, hope you guys enjoyed, cheers!
>>38099755That was a rather short run for you Merc, still, I guess it was nice to see what Breeana's been up to while Pierce has been doing his rescue hero thing.>>38101221Also nice to see another Raikov chapter Ghost, I'd half expected to be waiting like, three years for the next one.Some feelsy shitscripting here, probably the last I'll do for a good long while, at least until side project's more fleshed out. On that note, tell me; what are your thoughts on law enforcement?http://pastebin.com/NfmEz7Sv
>>38101221what the chance Putin doing all of this because he is Kaidanovsky's old friend?
>>38101221...So Raikov not only killed Karla's grandma, but also Laika's parents......My face is wet. There's a leak in the ceiling of my office...
>>38101257and Karla's folks, too.
>>38101283...I ...I'll go drink myself into oblivion the moment I get out of the office. T-t-thanks for the f-f-feels, Ghost...
>>38101303And Silke's parents. (The cat got out, was picked up and placed in a shelter, got adopted shortly later.)
>>38101355...I'm still here at the office because of overtime. Why you do this? Why?
>>38101465It builds character!haha!
>>38101490That's like saying getting stabbed builds character, it does not.
>>38101503in hindsight, at least the kids found better ending now.
>>38101503The only people who say that are people who have not been stabbed.
>>38101549Trust me, getting stabbed does not add character, it adds scar tissue and mental issues.
>>38101490Overtime's finished at last. Sweet freedom from Ghost's feels by way of the cold comfort of alcohol poisoning.
>>38101566Clearly whoever stabbed you sucked at their job.
>>38101503>>38101549>>38101566>>38101601I'm sorry anons but is there a point to this discussion?
>>38101666Does it matter?