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Keeping the Peace

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Post Wed Feb 01, 2006 10:47 am
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The four members of UNITF assembled at the locked door of the arsenal bunker. The soldiers on guard were no match for Svarog's robotic might. One changeable hand tricked the keypad lock into opening for them.

"Do we really know that a nuke is ready to explode?," Captain Commando asked, tranquilizer gun at the ready.

"Do we want to chance it?," asked Red Star.

"Quiet," said Lui Le Long, holding up a hand.

The almost Thunderbolt concentrated, listening to the place. The quiet seemed almost completely silent. One ticker broke the air. He could feel it agitate the room. Thousands of bombs sat on racks but at least he could find the one that had been activated.

"Warn the army," Lui Le Long said, running forward. "One of the bombs is active."

Red Star started broadcasting in the clear, warning everyone who could hear the radio message. He hoped his communicator would reach beyond the armory's walls.

"It's here somewhere," said Long, pointing at a rack of bombs at the far end of the room. "Help me with this."

Svarog clanked forward, hands extending a built in tool kit. In a few seconds, the casings of the bombs lay on the ground around his square feet. Only one warhead ticked on an electronic timer. He stepped back.

"Baddest mother in the whole damn town," he said.

"You got that right," said Commando, stepping in. "Anyone have the pass codes? This baby has a nine digit lockout which means we'll have to take it apart to stop it."

"The ranking officers would have access to it," said Long. "We don't have the time to look for them."

"Svarog, take the keypad off," said Commando. "Let's see if we can stop General Chang's evidence wrecker."

The cyborg gently removed the screws holding the keypad and timer to the rest of the bomb. Captain Commando gently picked the thing up after checking for booby traps. A mass of wiring connected the pad to the explosive charges packed around the uranium payload. He studied the connections for a few seconds, glanced at the clock, pulled his knife, and cut one of the wires. He cut another, then another in quick succession. The timer stopped running.

"It looks like we saved the day," said Captain Commando, putting his knife away. "We still might have problems getting out of here but at least we won't be blown up."

Voices commanded a surrender in Chinese from the door. Red Star shouted back that their bomb had been set to go off and kill them. Bullets answered that statement.

"Allow me," said Lui Le Long.

He shouted an explanation to the soldiers, requesting the presence of the acting commander on base. Some arguing could be heard before the demand was sent to the officer in charge. The four waited patiently, already thinking of a way out of the trap if the man didn't want to let them go.

Post Sat Feb 25, 2006 1:31 am
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Jock MacGraw stood in a shadow, watching the city go by. His green fatigues and black mask helped him blend into the alley around him as he waited. He wanted to meet someone, and he awaited his chance.

The news from the second team had arrived through their communications gear. The General had slipped the net, but evidence tied him to the attempted destruction of the army base where he had been looting the arsenal for profit.

MacGraw knew a man who knew a man who could tell him something. The problem was tracking that second man down, and asking him questions. The commando's unique skills had earned him a spot in an alley behind the building where his suspected stool pigeon spent time with a lady of the evening.

The reason MacGraw waited in the back of the building, was O'Kent and the Knight were going in the front. That would flush anyone who had something to hide out the other exits. Wang stood in a position half a block away, waiting on some egg rolls, scanning the crowds. His telepathy would pick out any secondary intelligence hopefully.

If he stayed on point.

MacGraw still wasn't sure the captain would do the right thing, and help them wrap this up. He still might bolt into the wilds of the city and vanish into the underground. His telepathy would give him a huge advantage over anyone looking for him.

It had already protected him from a city full of hatchet men wanting his blood. Government agents from both sides of the Iron Curtain would be little more challenge.

A man running naked from the back door of the building he was watching told MacGraw that his comrades had started. He admitted he expected something more devastating. O'Kent was not known for his social graces.

MacGraw nodded as more and more people flooded from the escape route. Their clothes and belongings filled their arms. Some of the women seemed dismayed. The one person he wanted to talk to joined the mob as they fled from their love nest. MacGraw started after the man, using the shadows as his shield.

The informant was a minor figure in the gun running world, a remora to real sharks. The files UNITF had acquired pointed straight at him as a source of demand. That meant he would have something useful to say.

It didn't matter if he wanted to talk about it or not.

MacGraw closed the distance, watching for anything to complicate the snatch. Sudden obstacles would have to be dealt with. The gun runner reached a parking garage, headed for a stairwell. His car must be parked on an upper deck.

MacGraw took a position beside the building and aimed his arm at an upper deck. He triggered the launcher he wore. A folding grappling hook and a line shot out from under his jacket sleeve. The hook sprang open and hooked a rail on the outside of a garage deck. He tested it, before rewinding the cable. The commando used his feet to keep from sliding against the wall as he climbed the concrete ramps.

The man in green spotted his quarry walking to a black sedan, searching for the key. Apparently he drove himself to his little get together. That was fine.

MacGraw swarmed over the rail, fast and silent. He blended into the dark shadows wrapping the garage as he rushed across the concrete floor. The gun runner turned to look around as he put the key in the door lock. He didn't see anything, but something was off. A sixth sense told him someone was in the place with him. He yanked open the car door to hurriedly get inside. A dark shadow fell on him, and out went the lights.

MacGraw finished tying his victim up. Captain Wang would give him what he wanted from the man. Then they would hunt down everyone involved in this.

Post Thu Mar 09, 2006 2:24 am
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The two Jocks, the Knight, and Captain Wang had confiscated an empty office in the middle of the city. Hand drawn maps of a mansion and grounds littered a table O'Kent had scrounged up from somewhere. Access points to the city's major lines of travel had been drawn in. All anyone had to do was scale a wall and commandeer a car to blend into the traffic, or take a hostage to hold off police raiders.

"Peacemaker is not happy," said the Knight, gold helmet hanging from her arm by its strap. "Chang tried to cover his tracks with a nuclear bomb. It seems obvious that his links in the Chinese Military Intelligence is what blew Captain Wang's cover."

"Tough break, laddie," said O'Kent. "Thrown to the wolves for any who want your head. It's all so sad."

"Extremely so," agreed Wang. "That's a problem for another day. Our subject revealed numerous operations that he knew about. If Chang has gone to ground here in Hong Kong, it will probably be temporary. I don't see him staying in a place crawling with agents looking for him."

"The only thing we can do is keep looking in the Black Market," said MacGraw, examining the maps on the table. "Eventually we will uncover someone who knows what we want to know. The police will have to handle operations that we can't. Our concern is this house, and anything we find inside."

Cold eyes looked up at the Scot's comrades. His black mask hid any expression, any other feature from view.

"O'Kent hits the front of the building," said MacGraw. "The Knight and I go in the back. Wang provides cover and intelligence. We only want one man to question. After that, the police take over while we work up the line."

The others nodded their agreement. The Knight pulled on her helmet, buttoning the strap under her chin.

"Shall we start then?," asked MacGraw.

The advance team padded from the room, MacGraw turning off the lights as the last one to leave. O'Kent would provide their transportation. Gathered intelligence would point them to the next man in line. It wasn't a perfect solution, but someone would know where their real prey laired.

General Chang would be able to explain to his government where he had gone wrong. Then he could expect a bullet.

Keeping the Peace 37
Sergeant Woo liked to have easy nights where he didn't have to chase bad guys into dark alleys where they could shoot at him. Paper work soothed his nerves and passed the time until his shift ended. Then he would go home, talk to his wife for an hour or so, then turn in so he could start the next day.

An outside agency declaring war on the local underworld threw that to the wind.

Woo waited patiently, bulletproof vest chafing him, sweat dripping from his forehead, as the special team readied to serve a warrant on an arms warehouse. The commandant had mobilized teams all over the city to respond to information given to him by something called Unit F. This was the third raid the sergeant had ridden with so far in his shift.

The paperwork would be enormous. That thought comforted him slightly. He had to live to get back to his desk first.

"We go in three," declared an inspector. He counted down, and then the special team used a ram on the door. The heavily armed policemen led the way into the arsenal, declaring themselves as police.

Woo followed a heavier officer, gun pointing at anything that looked threatening. Bullets flew around the warehouse, digging out wood splinters and denting metal supports as the bandits responded to the announcement they were under arrest.

Woo shot one smuggler trying to open fire with a submachine gun as he headed into the warehouse. He had thought he was dead when the man popped up over a stack of crates. Reflexes had fired his revolver for him.

Woo glanced around as he used the crates for cover, disarming the man he had shot with a simple kick of a dropped weapon. He had saved the Crown trial expenses but had added to his report burden. All of the criminals had surrounded a pile of crates near the other end of the warehouse, the police had spread in a crescent to keep them contained in that corner.

"Surrender," ordered the inspector. "You are surrounded and have nowhere to go. Throw down your arms or else."

Several of the criminals fired at the sound of his voice. They weren't ready to relinquish their freedom to a cop. The inspector shook his head at their stubbornness. The special team might have to blast them out, which would be a bad move depending on what was in those crates they were using for protection.

Sergeant Woo opened several of the crates near him as he worked his way toward the stand off. He kept an eye out for stragglers as he found something that might be useful in one of the wooden boxes. He grabbed one of the weapons, loaded it carefully and worked his way in position. He took aim and fired.

Woo had never fired a missile before. The flaming trail took him by surprise. Men scrambled as the rocket headed for the smuggler's nest. Then that part of the building went up in flames. The raiders scrambled for the front entrance as the fire fell on top of the armament. Someone dragged the sergeant along as he stared at the destruction he had caused.

"Let's get out of here," said the inspector.

Post Thu Mar 30, 2006 4:09 pm
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Christopher Smith smiled as he piloted his helicopter over Hong Kong. Things had been put in motion according to the radio traffic he overheard as he looked for a place he could land long enough to get a bearing on his advance team.

Smith wanted to talk to a certain former general, and he thought that the three members of his group posted in Hong Kong had already started on the trail to finding Chang.

He wanted to regroup so they could speed that search up a little. MacGraw and O'Kent, the two Jocks, had proved that they could find anyone they were looking for without outside help. The Knight had been assigned from CHESS, and to be able to hold her own in the field. They had already locked down a lot of activity just with their casual questioning.

Smith found a helipad in the middle of the crowded city. He requested landing clearance for his helicopter as he hovered over the building. His UN identification forced the operator to open the way for him. A few minutes later, the white rotors slowly flapped to a stop.

"This is going to be our command post for the time being," The Peacemaker told his team, waiting in the belly of the flying machine as he unstrapped his safety harness. "The others will probably be moving fast, doing whatever they are doing. Red Star, as soon as we have word where O'Kent is, I want you to fly over and tell him to hold it until the rest of us can get there."

The Soviet hero nodded. His atomic powered speed made him the fastest man they had. He didn't know if he could match the giant, but he should be able to reach the area of destruction before O'Kent moved on.

"Radio back and we'll meet at a designated spot to compare notes and combine forces," Smith said.

"Don't worry," Red Star said. "They can handle things without us if they have to."

"The Chinese Army has issued a warrant, and a request to the Hong Kong police to pick up General Chang," said Lui Le Long, manning a radio. "They would like him returned in the spirit of cooperation. The request doesn't mention the fact we think he's the source of all the illegal firearms, or that he tried to blow up his own command."

"That's probably too embarrassing," said Captain Commando, checking over his small arsenal of weapons. "I know I wouldn't admit one of my top guys has been a traitor and profiteer at my expense. And if it was me, I wouldn't want to be taken alive. All he can expect is a bullet in the head after a mock trial."

"No one is meaner," agreed Svarog, head cocked as if listening to the small wind eddying around the roof pad.

"A firing squad is the least he could expect," said the former policeman. "Being shot while resisting arrest could be hushed up easily by the ministry."

"He'll have his day in court," said Peacemaker. "The British and the Chinese will work out who will try him first. Then they'll wrangle on extradition. That's not our job to figure out. We're here to take him down any way we can so they can wrangle who gets to try him."

"We better get to him before Wang does then," said Commando. "It's almost certain that he blew Wang's cover and sold him out."

"We'll clear that up after we get our hands on the creep," said Smith.

"Reports of a giant white devil tearing up a place downtown," said Lui Le Long. "Looks like we're in the chase."

Post Thu Apr 20, 2006 12:02 am
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The assembled members of the United Nations Intelligence Task Force gathered on the roof of a closed restaurant nestled amidst the skyscrapers of Hong Kong. There was a sense of quiet anticipation as information was shared by the group.

All of Southeast Asia was looking for General Chang and his accomplices. The Peacemaker was determined to get him first.

"Do we have a final location on Chang?," Smith asked his advance team.

"No," said Jock MacGraw. "I have some ideas but I haven't been able to confirm anything yet."

"What do you need to get confirmation?," said Smith.

"We need one of his inner circle," said MacGraw. "So far we've netted little fish who haven't met Chang. I secured a tip that we're going to act on before you arrived."

"Do that," said Smith. "The rest of us will split up and start covering the rest of the bases. Radio check-ins every hour. Spot anything, give a call. We'll net who we can and squeeze them."

The group split up. Svaorg and Red Star headed for the harbor. Captain Commando and Lui Le Long headed for the main train station and airport. Peacemaker took to the sky in his white helicopter. The advance team headed for the street.

The threat of an imminent nuclear strike big enough to level the city was a very real one as long as Chang was running loose.

"Do you really have an idea?," the Knight asked MacGraw. "We've been ripping up the town following the chain of command but I didn't think we were moving ahead."

"MacGraw always has an idea, lass," O'Kent said. "So where are we headed?"

"There's a guy who's on the outs with the Tongs," said MacGraw, leading the way downstairs. "All of the small fry we have picked up were former associates of this man. I have a feeling he still has a finger in the pie. So Captain Wang should be able to grab something from him to point us along."

"It is a small coincidence that the weapons dealing we started with is being run by friends of a former gangster," said the Knight. "Maybe that's all it is."

"Shall we go and talk to the good Mr. Zhang?," said MacGraw. "That will rule him out one way or the other."

"I can't argue with that, I suppose," said the Knight. "Let's go."

The four adventurers made it to the street, hailing a cab. The driver stopped and was puzzled as three of the strangely dressed people got in the car. Then the fourth, a giant by any description, picked the car up and started running with it in his hands. He had enough presence of mind to hit the meter as they started down the street.

Post Mon May 15, 2006 7:43 am
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The four of them had their plan down to a science. The Knight and Jock MacGraw would circle around to the back of the magnificent estate with the hopes of scaling the wall. O'Kent would kick in the front door and start scaring people. Captain Wang would keep his distance and keep an eye out for reinforcements, as well as stealing any information he found.

The Knight held her staff ready as she dropped on the soft grass below the stone wall. A garden had been laid out between where she stood and the main house. Decorative statues and bushes lined gravel paths leading to the big wooden house. Gunfire erupted as she crept along.

O'Kent must have flung someone hard because a man flew through a back window like a baseball. The giant's style suited the smashing rhino charge they were using to shock their enemies into submission. He was a juggernaut of destruction.

The Knight moved forward cautiously as gun men fled the front of the house. She fell on them, swinging her staff with both hands. Her attack, combined with O'Kent's earlier charge, scattered the guards like a cat among the pigeons.

None noticed that some of the men vanished into the bushes, and flower beds. MacGraw's unseen hands did their work with uncanny efficiency. None saw him stalking the shadows cast by the ground lighting in the back yard.

O'Kent burst out into the yard behind the gun men. He waved the man they wanted to talk to in one big hand. Everyone froze at the sight.

"Now that I have everyone's attention," said O'Kent, grinning like a kid with a new toy. "Where's General Chang? I would like to talk to him."

"There's no way I can tell you that," said Zhang. "He has hidden and cut his connections to his network. No one knows where he has gone."

"You know what happens if I don't believe you?," asked the Scot. "You get to take a flight without a plane."

"It's the truth," said Zhang. "I swear it."

O'Kent dropped him in a casual dismissal. He turned and plowed another hole through the house with his tremendous strength. The black clad woman disappeared before anyone could gather their wits to stop her.

Post Wed Jun 07, 2006 7:23 am
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Svarog hovered over Hong Kong harbor, floating on a glider wing constructed out of his back and arms. He hummed to himself as his internal scanners monitored every radio frequency running among the boats and along the shore. His organic brain didn't listen to every word. Instead he had a computer monitor select key words that he was looking for. He had discovered several crimes in progress and had the system alert the police to what was happening.

The monitor was better at that than his usual lingo of golden oldies.

Svarog noticed one boat that was breaking from the pack. Its radio signaled no one. Its running lights only lit enough to show that it was cutting through the water toward the ocean beyond.

Svarog drifted down over the water, gliding through the night air like a giant kite. His glowing eyes zeroed in on the driver as he swooped down. It wasn't the man he had been assigned to capture, but it was a wanted fugitive from the Crown's justice. The cyborg debated the correct response for a moment as he closed in.

Svarog freed an arm. He took aim as he pulled up, climbing back into the sky. A crimson trail struck the engine of the speedboat. The outboard came apart as the line faded away. The boat started drifting among the waves. A radio call to the authorities would bring a rescue boat out for the man.

Svarog climbed as he mirrored the line of travel his ambushed prey had been following. He decided that perhaps the man had decided to brave the ocean to meet someone. Perhaps he should meet that second party instead.

Svarog radioed Red Star with his coordinates, and flight path. The nuclear hero was his watchdog and handler for the Russian Government. No one wanted a living weapon to simply turn his capabilities on the nearest target because of a glitch. The cyborg didn't mind. He knew something was wrong with his brain, and Red Star was one of the few with a chance of stopping him in case he did go crazy.

Sometimes he didn't think he was Russian at all. It was an odd thought that kept returning to him despite his training at the facility where he had been created. His odd speech pattern leant that notion some credence. He knew he could never voice his feeling until he found out who he really was.

The commission would take him offline if they thought he was uncontrollable. They would feed the world information about how he had slipped a gear and needed repairs. Then he would never be seen again.

Svarog could wait until he had a better chance at freedom.

Post Sat Jun 24, 2006 12:32 am
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Peacemaker smiled as he banked his white helicopter over Hong Kong. This temporary trolling his team had engaged in was dragging in some major and minor crime figures in the middle of suspicious activities. They couldn't keep up the pace for long, but they were making an impact at the moment.

Peacemaker set his helicopter to hover over a tea house. He undid the straps so he could get out of the pilot's chair, and made his way to the cargo door. He dropped down on the roof of the restaurant, scrambling for the roof access under the wind from the helicopter's blades. He popped open the lid and dropped down inside the building's men's room.

Smith moved to the door, pushing it open. He preferred a head on approach. That meant getting the men he was after to focus on him and not on any bystanders that might get in the way. He had a variety of non-lethal weapons he could use. His chosen enemies would never consider that when a bullet would clear a path for them.

"I'm looking for General Chang," Smith announced, holding a neural stun pistol as he stepped inside the main dining area where the customers had food and tea delivered to them by white shirted waiters. His keen eyes scanned the place for threats as he moved forward.

He was rewarded by a table of men standing up, scattering plates and silverware. Hands went for guns as the Chinese mobsters regarded their enemy with hate. The stun gun whined before the first man could get his pistol clear. He went down with a moan.

The other three scattered, looking for cover. At least none of them fired as the other patrons panicked for the exits. Smith took careful aim, his helmet providing a cross hair over his eye to guide him. He fired again to keep them running away and not trying to fight him. His shot took a second man before he could reach a window.

The other two escaped by jumping through the open windows which were tall and wide enough for a man to step through and drop down to a porch roof running around the sides of the building. They dropped down to the ground from there, and started running down the street.

Smith let them go. He had two he could question. If he had to, he could ask the ones he had stunned where to find the other two. At least he had provoked a response. All his victims had to do was play it cool and he never would have spotted them.

"Sorry about this intrusion, ladies and gentlemen," the Peacemaker said, gathering his catch to carry them away. "Please return to your meals. Everything is all right."

Smith carried his prizes back through the men's room. A small touch of his jet pack got all three on the roof. He flipped both men into the waiting bay of the chopper before climbing in after them. He handcuffed them to the seats before climbing into the pilot's chair.

Time to get some answers for some of his questions if he could. UNITF couldn't keep ripping up the town the way they were doing. They needed a direction to go.

Post Thu Aug 24, 2006 10:28 pm
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The Knight wiped the sweat off her forehead with the back of her hand, before pulling her gold helmet's visor back down. It had been a long night, and she could feel the weariness coursing through her system. Still they might have caught a break finally.

The rest of the team had started cutting a swath through the Hong Kong underworld. Information had been gathered and exchanged between UNITF and the local police. A criminal couldn't walk the street without facing blue lights. That persecution had dropped crumbs under the official radar.

That's why she was standing in an alley watching a back door to a local eatery. She doubted anybody would make it to where she waited, but the plan was to follow anyone who did. Several criminals she and her comrades had talked to indicated that someone in the restaurant could lead them to Chang.

The mission was over when they bagged him.

The Knight smiled when she heard the crashing of furniture, and someone screaming high pitched enough to make an opera singer wince. She pulled her staff, extending it to its full length as she waited in the shadows. Her friends would be letting their rabbit out of the trap any minute.

A man crashed through the door she was observing. The Knight waited as the fleeing crook ran by without seeing her. The staff helped her to the lowest landing on a fire escape. She used that to get to the surrounding roofs. A smile crossed her hidden face as she jogged after the runner unseen.

He ran at a varying rate. The Knight didn't know if that was to throw off pursuers like her, or if he was using some kind of cadence to conserve his energy. This part of the city was crowded with old buildings leaning against each other. Roof tops were a simple step away. That made it just as easy to follow him as long as he stayed on the street.

The mark decided that a night bus was the thing he needed. He waited at a stop for ten minutes for one of the double deckers to show up. He boarded, climbing to a seat on the roof platform. He could see the street as the bus rolled, and there was only two ways for anyone to get at him.

The Knight radioed her position back to her comrades as she ran after the bus. It was moving slow, and had to stop every few blocks, but she could see the spaces between the buildings grow apart as she went. She was going to have to gain transportation if she wanted to keep up.

"Wang has a car," said the dry voice of Jock MacGraw in her ear. "He's coming to meet you. It's yellow with a red stripe. O'Kent and I have some minor details to clear up before we can join you. Don't lose him."

"Got it," said the Knight, looking for an easy way to get down to the street to be picked up. She decided to drop down on a flag pole, then use her kit's rope to descend to the street. She landed with a soft thump.

The Knight jogged after the bus, trying to keep in the shadows. She didn't want to spook the mark before he got to where he was going. They had been chasing General Chang all night, and it came down to trailing a slow moving vehicle the size of three elephants. If she was seen, he would get off and try to vanish into the underground before she could catch up.

A yellow Mitsubishi appeared out of a side street, turning to follow the bus. A red stripe down the side seemed to glow with internal fire. Reflection from a nearby sign shining down on the road decided the Knight. Captain Wang waved at her through the open passenger window, as he stopped in the middle of the street.

"Thanks," the Knight said, getting in the car. "I thought I would have to run after him all night."

"Glad to be of help," said Captain Wang. He found he meant the words. He had betrayed these people who had tried to befriend him, but they had thrown themselves into the fray to help him. They were heroes. He wasn't even close. He had a lot of cowardliness to work off. "I think he will enjoy his trip for the next few blocks and then get off."

"Let's follow parallel to this street," said the Knight. "This thing sticks out."

"I understand," said Captain Wang. He turned and crossed another block before turning back. The two agents could see the bus as it rolled along, but their car looked like part of the traffic current running on streets adjacent to the one they were interested in.

The mark finally got off the bus near the busy downtown area of Hong Kong. He headed to an office building that presented a blank glass face to the world. He said a few words to the security guard, and passed through to the elevator banks at the back of the lobby.

"The guard doesn't think he will be coming out on his feet," said Captain Wang, pulling to a stop across the street from the place.

"We'll have to do something about that," said the Knight, getting out of the car. "We can't let our only lead vanish in a puff of smoke."

"Are all American women so pushy?," asked Captain Wang as he got out too. He walked a few steps behind the black clad agent, admiring her form in the uniform as she moved.

"You haven't seen pushy yet," said the Knight, flicking her staff to full extension as she went.

Post Wed Aug 30, 2006 10:44 am
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The guard saw the Knight coming. He didn't know what he was staring at the first few moments he watched her walking right at him. He decided that he should shoot the black clad woman because the gold helmet and shoulder protector looked out of place. Steady hands pulled a submachine gun on line. He saw two flashes and dropped the weapon as pain ran up his arms.

The Knight kicked the guard in the face before turning to the door. She put the service pistol back in its wrist loader before checking the door over. A camera rested on a hook over the entry to let a monitor inside know who was coming. She imagined that someone, a bunch of someones, were coming to meet her.

The Knight picked up the submachine gun. The guard didn't need it while he was in dream land. She emptied about half the clip into the door knob and lock mechanism. The bullets jackhammered the plate and bolt apart, dropping the pieces to the ground. The staff went in its holder so she could throw the door open and cover the entryway beyond with the confiscated gun.

Armed men paused as the Knight rushed the room. Bullets flowed back and forth for a few seconds. The agent felt the impact of two bullets on her armor. She was pleased to note that she had hit four of the six men in non vital areas as she fell to the floor.

The Knight flung the empty gun at the nearest uninjured foe with one hand, as she let her service pistol drop down in her other hand. The guard fell back as the light metal hit his face. She dropped him with two bullets to the legs.

Another pistol barked from behind the Knight where she lay on the floor. The last guard went down, shot high in the chest. She glanced over her shoulder. Captain Wang stood in the doorway, pistol in hand.

"I'm sorry," said Wang. "I don't have your accuracy with a pistol."

"I'm just glad you can shoot at all," said the Knight, getting back to her feet. "Let's find our guy and get out of here."

Captain Wang nodded, picking up one of the assault rifles that had dropped from stunned hands. He grabbed extra clips, kicking weapons out of reach of the shot guards' reach. No use making it easy for the agents to be shot on the way back unless he planned to kill them out of hand.

He wasn't prepared to do that.

Wang and the Knight moved quietly down the corridor, commandeered weapons at the ready. The captain's telepathy kept them from straying from the right path as he keyed on the thoughts of the man they were trying to save.

"He's ahead," said Wang. "He's scared, but it looks like we're keeping him alive until they can deal with us."

"Let's see if they can deal with us," said the Knight, taking the lead with her rifle pointed in front of her.

The two agents moved quietly, listening for ambushes as they went. Wang's telepathy sped up searching. One glance told him if a room was empty, or not. They paused at the entrance to a large storage area. Crates formed mismatched barriers to block their view of the room.

Wang indicated ten men with one hand as he searched the room with his mind. He pointed out positions silently. The Knight nodded. She gestured for him to follow before running to the nearest crate, and hunkering down. The captain followed, alert for anyone to spot him as he took cover the next crate over.

The Knight pulled herself on top of her crate. It was a dangerous move, but Wang had indicated that no one else had decided to climb the piles for a height advantage. It wouldn't take long for them to realize this if any shooting broke out.

Wang moved to keep the Knight in sight, protecting himself from discovery with his telepathy. He was able to sneak up on the nearest man and club him silently down. He heard some bumping and knew his comrade had dropped down on another somewhere in the stacks.

Eight left.

Post Sun Sep 03, 2006 11:43 pm
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Captain Wang kept his mind's eye on the Knight as he moved around the outer edge of the crate jungle. She was moving a lot faster than he was. Two more of the guards cut across her path and went down with dents in their skulls.

Wang felt someone regarding him with menace and dropped behind a crate. Bullets splintered the wood like a shaky chainsaw. He thought and saw the position of the man trying to shoot him. His assailant wasn't sure if he had hit the agent.

Wang decided that he had to advance, but not into the barrel of the gun that was waiting for him. He moved to the other side of the crate. He saw a path through the crates that should take him around the threat.

Wang moved as silently as he could through the small section of the maze he had picked out. He spotted his quarry moving to check if he had shot the agent. The captain fell in behind, keeping the man covered with his rifle.

No need to take chances.

The man jumped to the edge of the first crate, swinging his rifle down to shoot at a supposedly wounded Wang. He looked disappointed at the lack of blood on the floor. He had a moment of certainty and started to turn around. A rifle butt to the face stopped that. Another dropped him to the floor.

Wang clubbed him again to make sure he was out before looking around. The Knight had taken two more on the other side of the room. She was moving faster and quieter than he was. He smiled. This was her element, just as his was intelligence gathering. He shouldn't be surprised that she was better than he was.

Wang marked the last three guards in the maze with the two agents. He passed the information on to the Knight as he headed for back of the warehouse. The whole purpose was to talk to the flunky that had run into here before he was killed. That meant one of them had to get to him. Wang decided that the job had to be his.

Wang picked a path, avoiding the other combatants as he made his way to the back. He paused near some cover when he spotted the chief of the gang holding their stool pigeon at gun point. Only one thing to do in that situation.

Wang took careful aim and squeezed off one shot. The bullet hit the chief's upper arm, spinning him around. The captain ran up, kicking the man in the head. Telepathy gave him the impression of the man's pain, so knocking him out spared them both having to deal with it for a while.

"Don't move," Wang commanded the other man. "Or I'll have to shoot you too."

"Don't!," said the thug. "I just wanted to get away from that guy in the black mask. I don't want any trouble."

Wang kicked the pistol on the floor away from the warehouse chief as he gestured for his captive to move toward the exit. He already knew everything his captive knew once he had a chance to listen to the man's thoughts. He just wanted to keep him close to turn over to the authorities so he could prevent Chang from getting rid of him.

"What do you have?," the Knight asked, appearing out of the packed supplies. She leaned her confiscated rifle against a crate.

"A location outside the city," said Wang, prodding his captive. "I'll have to check it out in person to look for weak spots. I expect that we'll be able to get in when we want."

"We have a walking, wrecking ball," said the Knight. "We can get in anywhere we want."

"Jock O'Kent is a destroyer," said Wang, nodding.

"O'Kent?," asked the captive.

"The man who ripped the front off the teahouse you ran from," said Wang. "I'm sure he would like to do the same to your head."

The man started to shake. A picture of a giant smashing into the restaurant, laughing as he flung people into the air sprang across his mind. The image of a crushed pistol flew by in shards of metal.

"Let's talk to the others and see what we can do about this," said the Knight. "Peacemaker and the others will want to be in on the capture after all the trouble they went to rousting the city. He seemed angry about being used."

Wang nodded in agreement. He had been assigned to UNITF to procure information on the United Nations team and try to use that to benefit his country somehow. The team had already seen action, even stopping a water using menace in the Chinese jungles. He had edited his reports to his superiors while trying to carry out his mission. All of the trust he had built up had been swept away by a maniac willing to bomb his own command to cover his escape.

Wang understood anger at what had happened. He knew that Peacemaker would want some expression for his anger. Part of his working with his former comrades again was at the insistence of the hero. Smith was going to have his pound of flesh no matter what Captain Song Lo Wang did. It was better to get inside the juggernaut and ride it, than get in front and get crushed by the wheels.

Wang hoped Chang appreciated the small amount of time he had left. The juggernaut had turned on his street and was heading for his house.

Post Sun Sep 10, 2006 7:47 am
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Christopher Smith smiled for the first time in a week. The Scots, Knight, and Wang had gotten him an address. Captain Commando and Lui Le Long confirmed that General Chang was there meeting associates with the hopes of leaving the country. Svarog and Red Star had already taken up orbit around the estate.

The Peacemaker had committed numerous raids against fortified installations. The camera work from Captain Commando picked out every weak point in black and white. It didn't pay to be overconfident, but Smith had a human wrecking ball on his side.

He wondered if Chang had an ace in the hole in case someone did find him.

"All right," Smith said into his helmet radio. "Can everybody hear me?" A chorus replied to his simple question.

"Knight and Commando. I want you two to cover the compound with rifles. MacGraw and Lui Le Long are to get over the wall on either side of the house and start picking the goons off. O'Kent, you have the front gate. Wang will handle any cops that show up on the shore side. Snipers make sure to keep him covered as well. Svarog and Red Star, the grounds face out on the ocean. When the action starts, shut it down. No one gets out. Let's throw us a party in five minutes."

The Peacemaker readied the nonlethal ordinance he carried for circumstances like this. He strapped on his jet pack as he went to the cargo door of the white helicopter he used for a mobile base and assault platform. He checked his watch as he listened to his team get into position. Everything seemed to be going textbook perfect.

He wondered how long it would take before things went sideways as he took to the air. He swooped down on the mansion as O'Kent ripped the front gate off with his ham-sized hands. The guards were good enough to try and counter that opening move with machine gun fire. Too bad the giant was bulletproof.

Smith started using his foam gun to pick off sitting ducks as they tried to stop the steam roller bearing down on them. White glop hardened around his targets, forming instant cells. He dropped five before they tried to turn their weapons on him.

The purple and green Lui Le Long slipped over the wall, blending into the vegetation. Gunman started falling before his silent fists as he worked his way toward the house. This was something he did easily with his Tibetan training. He even saw where Captain Commando and the Knight dropped unsuspecting targets with their rifles as he moved along.

Something blew out a window at the front of the house. Smoke drifted through the opening, obscuring that corner from view. UNITF knew that MacGraw had cut through whomever had got in his way and went straight for the house. Chang might not get out of the house with the speed the commando was moving.

O'Kent blasted through the remaining guards in the front of the estate. He crashed into the front door with a bang. The door bent in the middle before it flew away. Steel doors and shutters that could be closed over the windows would stop the more human members of the team for a few seconds. They were paper to the giant.

Smith leveled the underbarrel of his rifle at the upper floor of the mansion. Gas grenades followed until he emptied the clip through the glass panes. Green smoke marked the progress of the chemical compound as it enveloped the top of the house and dropped anyone who hadn't been able to get to a gas mask, or hold his breath longer than three minutes.

Men staggered out the back of the house. They ran for the boats tied to docks at the back of the grounds. Some of them were trying to lay down a defensive fire to keep the only visible hero away from rushing them. Some of them went down with bullets in their limbs. Some dropped under a pile of white foam that turned into concrete. Then the boats blew up under fireballs and energy lances as the Russian heroes went to work.

There was a moment where the men milled around, wondering what they should do. The options boiled down to fight, or surrender. Fighting looked impossible at the moment. One by one hands started going up, while weapons dropped to the ground. General Chang's hands were last.

Good, thought Peacemaker. It was about time.

Post Sun Sep 10, 2006 7:54 am
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Song Lo Wang smiled as he walked the streets of Shanghai. He glanced at a window, still startled by the new face that peered back from the reflection. Still it had been necessary.

General Chang had been handed over to the Chinese government. The Security Council agreed with Smith's decision. He had done his job and shut down a threat to the world before it had gotten started. The people directly affected had a right to hold his trial their own way.

The People's Republic had also wanted their living weapon returned. A telepathic agent was worth a million generals. Peacemaker reported that Captain Wang had disappeared into the underground, leaving behind a letter of resignation. He refused the request for extraordinary measures to be taken to return the former agent to the hands of his chief.

Captain Wang had not done anything wrong to justify any such arrest.

Wang found someone to work on his face, secure creditable identification, and returned home to Shanghai. He had made a mistake placing his trust in political entities. They didn't care about those they led except as tools. He himself had been no better, using people who trusted him to further some end that didn't make sense in a logical light.

It was time for him to take his own destiny in his hands. His telepathy allowed him to blend in, his new face gave him his anonymity back. His new neighbors gave him a reason to get up in the morning and do what he was born to do.

The Party had said it was his duty to protect the country, trained him to do it, and set him loose with a handler to make sure they could take advantage. It felt good to walk the street and help someone without a thought of someone higher up on the food chain trying to cash in like some of the capitalists he had met over the years.

Wang paused at the corner, looking both ways before crossing the busy road. Of course he would have to hide his connection to the generosity he had started giving to the city. He didn't want his former masters realizing this was where he had set up his new life. They would shut the countryside down looking for him.

He needed a disguise to strike fear in the hearts of men. He knew from experience that was hard to do to some of the Triad elements he had encountered as part of his intelligence work. It wasn't impossible.

Wang considered things people were afraid of as he toured his new home. This casual walking allowed him to gather information while looking casual. Tips to the police should start helping to clear the little players out, while he thought of ways to break the bigger ones.

After all he knew what evil lurked in the hearts of men.

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