Chapter 2: Enterprise
Goshen took in the scenery as he scanned the horizon in all directions. Rosette laid on her stomach at the edge peering through the scope of her sniper rifle. “See anything?” Goshen asked arms crossed. “Nothing unusual. I wish a yauf or something would show so I could have some target practice.” Rosette said not looking up from her scope. “Stay focused. They’ll be here soon enough and when they do. No mercy. We crush them instantly. Got it?” Goshen said roughly. “Yeah yeah don’t play with your food. I know.” Rosette said. “This is not average game. You heard my speech. These guys are supposed to be the best of the best. They’ll expect us to underestimate them. Let’s not make that mistake.” Goshen said. Goshen was a strong man that wouldn’t permit excuses. He stood tall, always wearing a firm look. He had thick hair spiked upwards. The two watched from atop the first level of surestone fortress. The large base was in the shape of a half circle backed up against a rocky mountain on the East side. The forest’s tree line neared the fortress on the North side but retreated far back and around leaving wide open fields on the West and South sides. Much of the fields nearest to the fortress were damp and swampy. Small pools of murky water were scattered through them. Farther out towards the treeline some large boulders and rocks could be seen. “This is quite the spot.” Rosette observed, “Plenty of distance to take my shots. Being against the mountain is a nice touch as well.” Rosette paused, “Who’s watching the prisoner right now?” “I’m leaving the regular guards to it. I connected them to our earpieces so they’ll be able to alert all of us if there is a breach.” Goshen replied. “Isn’t that a little risky? He is a top priority prisoner?” Rosette asked. “I’m not worried about him. He won’t try to escape. Even if he did, without assistance he’s not getting past the swarm of standards. All of us need to focus on the invaders. They’ll come swiftly or perhaps with stealth in the night. Keep your eyes peeled at all times.” Goshen ordered. “Yes sir” came from Rosette. She readjusted the long golden braid of hair that curved around her neck and shoulder. She knew this could be a long wait. Goshen walked away as he tapped his earpiece to make a call. A short beeping noise indicated connection. Automain’s voice came through, “Hello sir.” “Auto, how are the preparations coming along?” Goshen asked. “Wonderfully sir. I set a fire trap in the near North woods, a few mines near South entrance, and placed a xandler in the marshes.” Automain said giddily. “And Jenzu traps?” Goshen demanded. “No sir. They take a little longer to set up but I will get on it right away.” Automain said. Goshen grunted with frustration, “You should have set them up first then! I told you these guys are experts at infiltration. They’ll be expecting traps. I need you to give them the unexpected! Understand?” “Yes sir! I will make them suffer.” Automain said quickly. “Auto, don’t forget your objective is to stop them in their tracks so we can finish them. Got it? This is not a show.” Goshen corrected. “I will make it my sole focus sir.” Automain promised. “Good, get to it” Goshen commanded. Goshen trudged with a stance of authority. He had been through too much to let his reputation be shattered in one day by some elusive gangsters. He would do all in his power to shut down the battle before it began. Before entering a passage into the stronghold Goshen shouted to Sender. Sender was a sleek man with a keen eye. He wore both his compound bow and a stash of arrows. “Sender, keep watch with Rosette in my absence. If either of you see anything unusual alert everyone immediately.” Goshen called. “Yes sir.” Sender replied with a nod. Goshen descended and took note of the common guards positions and behavior as he made his rounds. He wondered why they were so much more obedient to his orders than his own. In any case preparations were coming along slowly but surely. Goshen made his way along metal bridges, halls, and corridors until he reached the door he was looking for. Standing before it he fed energy into it. A specific type and amount known to him and his followers to unlock the doors. The light orange aura glimmered around it until a click was heard and it opened. Tenful stood facing the opposite direction in the middle of the large room. He held a firm stance and moved his arms in precise motions. In front of him glowed a splotchy purple aura. A ball within the aura crept directly toward him lethargically. Tenful sidestepped to avoid collision looking to Goshen, “Sir.” he said. As the ball exited the purple aura it regained its speed moving quickly but soon falling to the floor and rolling to Goshen’s feet. Goshen stopped it with one foot. “I’m glad to see at least one of you are preparing for the attack.” Goshen said gruffly. “They’re not going so well in other areas?” Tenful questioned. “The others are not taking the task as seriously as they should be. We’re not in East Sphere anymore. Troublemakers don’t play by the same rules around here. They have different forms of Jenzu. Things, according to the source, that none of us have seen before. Obviously we don’t lose. We never have and I don’t plan to start now. But we haven’t gotten this far by being lazy fools that underestimate an opponent!” Goshen fumed. Clearly Goshen was not in a good mood but Tenful had come to expect such behavior from his superior when a battle was imminent. Goshen tended to go overkill on precautions but it wasn’t always a bad thing. Tenful could think of a number of sticky situations in the past they would not have likely made it through without a few tricks up their sleeves. Tenful liked to stay on Goshen’s good side but sometimes that meant he was entrusted with more responsibilities. “Anyway, right now there’s something else I need you to do.” Goshen said pausing as if to have Tenful agree before he knew what it was. “Yes Sir.” Tenful said. “I need you to keep an eye on Mercury for now. Just stay with her and make sure she doesn’t get into any mischief. Don’t bother trying to get her to work just make sure she’s not flirting with the guards or anything.” Goshen said, rolling his eyes. “Yes sir. Do you know where she is sir?” Tenful asked. “No, that’s what I’m worried about. Find her. I’m going to show Torrent to the armory.” Goshen said. With that he turned making his way through the hall and down a flight of stairs that lead deep into infrastructure. While being quite new to him the fortress was impressive. Nearly the entire building was made and enforced by a heartic metal. A metal that was said to be found only in the planet’s deepest reaches. Few miners could ever say they discovered such a prize. It should not have been possible even for the Western Sphere government to collect and fund such a project. Yet here they were entrusted with its security. There was much at stake but Goshen knew what the outcome would be. He was the anchor that could halt any ship. Enterprise was unmatched but he himself was always their undefeatable failsafe.
The air rushed through Sender’s hair as he gazed off the first level roof. He wore a green robe that often helped him blend into a forest setting. Here he stuck out like a sore thumb but he figured it didn’t matter much when their enemies would know their position when they saw it. Not much had happened since he and Rosette had started the watch except Automain bustling around setting traps with that silly grin on his face. Even though Goshen had instructed them to stay apart for a better watch at all angles, Sender had drifted closer to the middle again so he and Rosette could talk. They watched Automain from a distance. “What do you think he’d do if I shot one of his boxes?” Rosette mused. Sender laughed, “Goshen would kill you.” “I wouldn’t do it but can you imagine? It would make him go berserk.” Rosette said with a smile. “So what do you think about all this? You think these guys coming are for reals or is Goshen just being fussy again?” Rosette wondered. “It’s hard to say. Surestone is definitely not a joke but who could really break into this place? Especially against us? I don’t see it happening. I’m sure they’re good for West Sphere standards.” Sender mocked. “What I think is weird is that this whole thing is so confidential. It doesn’t make sense to me that they would build this place for one prisoner. One! Don’t you think if they were going to go through all the trouble of building and paying for this place and it’s security that they’d want to keep all the thugs in here?” Rosette asked suspiciously. “It must have to do with Jenzu. If they kept their biggest threats together that practiced Jenzu it’s likely they would unite and find a way to escape.” Sender replied. “So you’re saying they keep top priority Jenzu prisoners separated?” Rosette asked, analyzing the solution. “Yeah that’s the only thing it could be right?” Sender said. “It’s a great point but if that’s the case why wouldn’t they have non Jenzu prisoners here?” Rosette asked. “You have me there. No idea.” Sender admitted. “Well when the party’s over I intend to learn the identity of our one prisoner whether Goshen likes it or not.” Rosette said defiantly.
After wandering around and asking a few guards Tenful found his way to Mercury’s location. He’d known he was close when he heard Chiryi Pop blasting. Tenful was not familiar with the language and he doubted Mercury was either. After following the sound he found the room Mercury had claimed as her own and was now spray painting. Not noticing Tenful she jumped around delightfully, covering every inch in a fluorescent pink. “Mercury!?” Tenful yelled in confusion. She either couldn’t hear him over the loud music or pretended not to. Tenful shouted out once more but to no avail. Losing patience he took his stance and moved his arms in a pattern he was very familiar with. A purple aura glowed around Mercury and her painting slowed to a snail’s pace. She turned within the purple aura. Tenful stopped the motion and the aura faded. Mercury was the youngest member of their team. A girl of only nineteen. She always wore bright outfits with short skirts and often kept her long blonde hair in two pigtails that hung behind her. She was the most eccentric and energetic of them all. Although she was very annoying at times, Tenful and most other men found her to be strangely attractive. “Ten Ten! Stop it!” she exclaimed. Tapping on her earpiece she shut off the music. “Why did you do this?” Tenful asked, shaking his head. “You don’t like it? I colored it pink! This place is so dark and boring I couldn’t live like this!” Mercury said in her usual fast voice. “Mercury, we don’t own this place. It’s a high class fortress we’re being paid a lot of money to protect. You can’t just go around painting it a different color.” Tenful said in a defeated voice. “But I talked to the guards and they said I could have this room! They’re really nice by the way. I’ve already made a bunch of new friends!” She exclaimed, shutting her eyes and smiling with her forearms together below her chin. “Well Goshen wanted me to find you because we’re all getting ready for the invaders. They should be here soon.” Tenful said. “Yay!” Mercury shouted leaping into the air fist raised high.