The Sword, The Snake And The Sickle
The sewer grate was closed behind them, and the team was alone in the sewers. Kurt was not at the head of the group, with his rifle ready. It was on single-shot mode, in case they bullets ricocheted. Less likely to hit someone.
At the front was Thanatos, with his blade ready. In a close quarters fight, in made sense the guy with the sword be in the best position. At the back was Enyo, holding her own handgun, and with her was Dionysus. In the center of their formation was Minnie and the new girl, Marcella Winters.
Her hair was shaved down into a buzz, and her eyes were a bright ice blue. In her hands was a shotgun that hummed with energy, likely some type of laser weapon.
“This place smell like poop’,” Enyo muttered, and Minnie smirked.
“It’s a sewer, Enyo,” Kurt said quietly, “It will smell like that.”
Thanatos stopped and Kurt held his hand up to stop the group. Thanatos tightened his grip on his sword.
“We are not alone...”
Shots were fired from the tunnel ahead. Thanatos ducked and Kurt moved forward, activating the device on his wrist. A circle of blue energy generated from it, forming a buckler of light that deflected the bullets.
Kurt ducked and the corridor was filled with the joint fire of Dionysus, Enyo, Marcella, Minnie and Kurt. There were cries of pain, then an order in another language. Kurt recognized it. Orcish.
“Damn. Thanatos, get ready. What you’re about to fight is going to take everything you have”
Sure as soon as Kurt had said this, an Orc charged down the corridor. Thanatos stood and charged right back, and the two clashed with a flurry of metal and electricity. Kurt looked around for another way through, checking the walls, then realized Marcella was an Alliance soldier. That meant she had Det-packs.
“Marcella, load a Det-pack on this wall. It’s brickwork, so it’ll blow easily. We’ll go through the sewers literally”
Enyo was disgusted at this prospect, but said nothing. Marcella nodded and took a pack from her bag, and started to set it. Kurt aimed at the Orc, trying to get a shot but there was nothing clear. He didn’t want to hit Thanatos.
“It’s ready” Marcella said softly, then pressed against the wall to the side. Enyo and Dionysus sat behind her, and Kurt and Minnie took the other side. Marcella blew the pack, and the bricks crumbled, then filled their corridor with feces. Enyo vomited at the smell, then every put their helmet on.
“Go!” Thanatos called behind him. Kurt growled, then directed everyone into the pipeline. Marcella and Dionysus went first, followed by a very reluctant Enyo. Minnie and Kurt entered last, with a final glance Thanatos’s way.
“Good luck, sir,” Kurt murmured, then started going through the pipeline.
Thanatos was kneeling on the ground, coughing and wheezing from exhaustion. The man was surrounded by the carved corpses of the orcs he had slain, and the water on the ground was thick with blood, both his and the dead.
“Father, please grant me the strength to hold this line from the enemy. Guide my blade to their demise. And if this should be my final battle, grant me forgiveness.”
The roar down the hall signaled he would soon have company, so Thanatos forced himself to stand, tightening his grip on his blade.
Zeus and Epione slowly made their way across No Man’s Land carefully, waiting until Tartarus cleared them forward for each turn and alley, hiding from the enemy snipers and soldiers when they investigated their areas. Finally, Zeus and Epione arrived at the crashed shuttle, but something was amiss.
“Oh no,” Zeus muttered as he approached.
The scene was one of viscera and devastation. The pilot had died on impact and was then impaled it a bollard, covering the cockpit in blood. In the back were the scattered bodies of Alliance soldiers, blue armor drizzled with reds and one suit with green, all dead. But there was no sign of an Alliance official. No Desmond.
“He’s not here,” Epione whispered, checking the bodies for vitals just in case.
“Selene must have him. Tartarus, Desmond isn’t here.”
There was no response, so Zeus immediately grabbed his pistol from his belt, then the Selene agents de-cloaked around him, aiming high-powered energy rifles at the pair. Epione immediately rose her hands over her head, and Zeus did so slowly, eyeing the lead soldier.
“Agents Zeus and Epione, Olympus Squad. We surrender.”
“Damn right you do,” the soldier said smugly, then beat Zeus in the face with the butt of his rifle, knocking him out.
Tartarus was watching his teammates move through the alleys, eyeing the area through his rifle with Alice backing him up and covering his blind spots.
“Clear,” he said, watching Zeus and Epione move towards the downed shuttle.
“Tartarus, 3 o’clock!” Alice cried. Tartarus rolled to the left, and used his rifle to deflect the knife that was thrown at him. His rifle sparked, and he tossed it over the side of the building.
In front of him was a woman in black armor similar to his, but with a crescent moon symbol on her shoulder. She had black hair tied back to further reveal her almond-shaped brown eyes. Tartarus drew his knife, and she drew another one with a smirk.
“That’s Abigail Sorel, the Selene sniper. She must have spotted you”
“Thanks, Alice, I pieced that together...”
Abigail ran forward and swung her knife at Tartarus. The two assassins traded blows, parrying, deflecting and blocking in a deadly dance, then the blades became locked. Tartarus used both his hands to apply pressure to Abigail, but she drew a pistol and shot Tartarus.
Bang. Bang. Bang. Three shots to the chest, closely grouped. A professional and methodical kill. Tartarus felt his body flood with medical chemicals thanks to Alice, then head-butt Abigail, and sank his knife into her chest.
Both fell to their knees, coughing blood.
“You’re not bad for an attack dog,” Abigail said quietly.
“And you’ve got some skill for a corporate lackey,” Tartarus returned.
Tartarus laughed lightly, then fell forward, his body shutting down.
Zeus and Epione, hands raised above their head, were marched to the Selene side of the warzone by their captors. Zeus had lost contact with Tartarus and Alice, meaning that Selene had either taken him out, or jammed their comms. There had been no word from Kurt either, so God only knew what had happened to the team in the sewers.
Zeus and Epione were sat in black metal chairs, and their hands were pulled back and bound tightly with zip-ties.
“Wait here,” the lead enforcer said with a growl, making Zeus smirk.
“But I was going to go see the sights”
Zeus’s smile was knocked off his face when the rifle butt whacked him in the gut. The wind left him, and he gasped for the lost air. Epione thrashed in her chair at this, prompting a whack to her face to silence her. Then they left, and Zeus shook his head
“You didn’t have to do that,” he murmured, lest their conversation be a further prompt for beating.
“Yes, I did,” Epione whispered, “You don’t care about yourself, but if one of us is in danger, you will do whatever you have to to stop it. Including stop being a smartass.”
Zeus laughed at that. She was right. Goading the enemy would only make this situation worse. Still, this was the plan. They had gotten into the camp as prisoners. All that was left was to speak to the Selene commander, and try to vie for peace.
As if on cue, a woman with midnight-colored skin walked into the room. Her hair was tied tightly into a bun, the color of snow, and a pair of gold glasses sat conspicuously on her nose.
“Agent Zeus and Agent Epione of The Alliance of Three... I... am so... sorry!”
Zeus cocked his eyebrow as the woman ordered her men to untie them. Zeus rubbed his wrists in relief, then stood up.
“And give them their weapons back, for goodness sake!”
The lead enforcer, begrudgingly, gave Zeus and Epione their weapons. Zeus was the better man, one of peace, so all he did was flash a smile at the enforcer with a childish ‘thank you’. Epione, however, was less forgiving, punching the enforcer in the testicles and watching him fall to the ground.
“Be lucky that’s all they did, Bart! Now, you two, come with me. And someone take Bart to the medical tent in case something... ruptured.”
The woman led the two agents through the Selene camp, where most soldiers were preparing for the next offensive. Many looked at Zeus as he passed, and a few sneered.
“Don’t mind them. They blame the Alliance for this conflict, which makes you their enemy. They need it, to demonize their foes... otherwise they’re just as bad.”
“I understand that all too well, ma’am,” Zeus said quietly as she led them into her office within a bombed-out building. She took a seat behind a blackened desk, and offered them two cushion-less chairs.
“Now, I must apologize for the method you were treated. Rest assured Bart will be reprimanded, as will the men in his squad. It was never my intent to harm you when I sent them out. Sadly, those under my command lack the same vision I have.”
Zeus and Epione nodded, and she continued.
“My, silly me, I completely forgot. You have no idea who I am, do you? I am Serenity Elysium, spelt exactly as it sounds. I chose it myself when I came to your realm.”
Again, Zeus and Epione nodded.
“You have non-Humans on your team, yes? A Dwarf, an Elf, maybe others. For your information, I am an Elf, but a different kind. Like Humans have different races and skin colors, as do Elves. So, while one would be an American Human, I would be a Lidrashian Elf, or ‘Dark’ if you’re feeling racist.”
“Can I stop you, ma’am?” Zeus said, and Rapture smiled and nodded. “We planned to be captured to attempt to discuss peace. The Alliance doesn’t know why you started this conflict, but we’d like to take steps to-”
“We didn’t start this war. The Alliance attacked us!” Rapture said, a little incredulously.
Zeus took that information seriously. That meant that either the Alliance was lying to him, which didn’t fit as Nevada himself had sent them here, or that both sides were being misled. The second one was far more troubling, but who could be the culprit? The Realmic Concord? Black Feather? Some kind of mutated Klisk? A player no one had considered yet...?
Kurt was the last to leave the pipe, making sure that no one had followed his group up. He could still hear Thanatos battling for his life further away, through walls they could not punch through. So, down a man, Kurt assessed the situation.
“Alright, we need to locate that gang, team. Ideas?”
“Split up?” Dionysus said, and Kurt nodded.
“Smaller groups are easier to control in tight space than one big one like ours. Ok, Dionysus, you lead one and I’ll lead the other. Enyo and Minnie, with me. Marcella, go with Dionysus.”
The two groups went separate ways along the tunnel. Dionysus led the new girl, Marcella, down the damp tunnel, lit only by the flashlights attached to their rifles.
“So, Marcella,” Dionysus said, trying to fill the silence, albeit with whispers, “Where are you from?”
“Titan, ma’am,” Marcella replied, “I was grown there and given the name Marcella. Better than Subject 0058"
Dionysus cocked a brow, and glanced at Marcella.
“I’m a clone soldier,” Marcella explained, stopped, and showed the code on the left of her forehead. S0058.
“Wow, you met Obi-Wan?”
Dionysus knew that joke would fly over anyone’s head here, so she quietly moved ahead as Marcella attempted to remember if she had indeed met anyone named Obi-Wan.
“No, I’m sorry, I haven’t met your friend. Is he a geneticist?”
“He’s a... force to be reckoned with,” Dionysus said, chuckling at her own pun.