The Agency: Book One

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Gunn & Grenade

Dionysus felt her eyes flutter as feeling returned to her body. Her vision was blurry and her extremities felt numb, but she was slowly regaining her body’s faculties.

“You’re awake,” a male voice said. “Looks like I made ten bucks.”

Dionysus jerked awake as adrenaline filled her body, and she launched herself forward, hitting the bars of a cage and falling back onto her rear.

“Whoa! She’s feisty.” the man overlooking her said, standing from the stool he was sitting on.

The man was muscled at first glance, his body making clear lines in his shirt. His head was completely shaved, and he was wearing the symbol of the cobra on his shoulder. He was one of them.

“Take it easy. Callie dosed you with enough drugs to choke a rhino.”

Dionysus slowly pushed herself to her feet, her eyes focused on this man cautiously.

“There we go. Take it slow. It’s weird, I know all Alliance uniforms, but yours... black isn’t a colour I’ve seen on any marines.”

Dionysus didn’t answer. Her eyes darted around the room, and she saw Marcella unconscious in a cage across from her. So at least they weren’t separated.

“What’s your name, Alliance?” the man asked. Despite being her enemy right now, he was being kind to her.

“Agent Dionysus,” she said. “I can’t disclose my realm name.”

The man nodded, and picked up a PDA from the floor, scrolling through it with his finger. He found what he was searching for.

“Agent Dionysus,” he started. “Holy hell, your entire file is just... black. So special ops?”

She didn’t speak, but Dionysus nodded before she could stop herself.

“Same department Callie’s from, then. That’s not great. How many of you are here? Why did the Alliance attack us? Why have you allied with Sehanine?”

The questions were quick, and Dionysus was taken aback. He’d suddenly become her interrogator.

“I can’t tell you those things,” she said. It was clear to everyone that despite being with black ops, Dionysus was not a trained soldier. The man’s face softened.

“What’s your specialty, Dionysus?” he asked. “Did we capture non-combatants?”

Dionysus sighed, and she approached the bars.

“Combat’s not my thing,” she said. “I’m the worst one on the team. I literally had to have my life saved in our first mission, and since then, my most memorable moment in my career has been driving a car that someone else fired guns from, or being grievously wounded.”

The man frowned, then put the PDA down. He dragged the stool closer, but just out of range of Dionysus.

“What about your friend, there?” he said, gesturing to Marcella.

“She’s not a member of the team,” Dionysus said truthfully. “She’s a marine.”

The man nodded, then smiled.

“I’m Rohan Gunn. Most people just use my last name. I’ll tell Callie we won’t get anything from either of you. An Alliance marine and a non-combatant who by her own admission is terrible at her job.”

Dionysus smirked and repressed a laugh. It was accurate.

“Can I ask questions now?” she said boldly. Gunn laughed, but nodded.

“Go ahead. No promises I’ll answer, though.”

“Who are you? Not you personally, but your outfit? I see a cobra on your clothes, so I assume either a gang or a private military?”

“Neither,” Gunn said, then wrinkled his nose. “And both. We do gang things, like drug running and weapon smuggling, but we’re trained like a private military. We are Copperhead.”

Dionysus raised her brow.

“But copperheads aren’t cobras.”

“We suck at marketing,” Gunn said, laughing. Dionysus found herself smirking again, momentarily forgetting she was a prisoner.

Gunn stood up. “I’ll go tell my boss now. If you’re hungry, I’ll bring you some food. I hope rations are good.”

Gunn walked out of view, leaving Dionysus to her thoughts. She glanced over at Marcella, still unconscious, and she sighed.

“Where are you, Zeus?”

Kurt listened to the rate of fire in the weapons, and took note when each gun stopped to allow for reloading. There were at least six people there, all firing at different moments to counter his plan. There was no taking advantage of them during reloading. That suggested military training.

He looked over to Enyo, and tapped his belt. Enyo rose her eyebrow, then looked at her belt. Specifically, at the grenade still hanging from it. She pulled the grenade off carefully, then looked to Kurt.

“Are you sure?” she mouthed, not wanting to alert the enemy to their new tactic.

Kurt nodded, and readied his gun. Enyo pulled the pin, and Kurt rounded the corner to fire at the enemy. Two bullets hit him, one in the right shin, and one in the chest. But it allowed Enyo to throw a live grenade at the feet of their attackers.

“Who dropped a grenade?” they heard, then screaming.

Minnie pulled Kurt back into cover, and Enyo covered her ears as the explosion set off, rocking the corridors violently. Kurt rolled onto his back as Minnie took off his chestpiece to check his wound.

“I’m fine, Warsaw,” Kurt said, though his choked voice suggested otherwise. Minnie pulled a canister of Medifoam from her toolbox, and pushed into into the wound, sealing it. The bullet had punctured his lung, and though the Medifoam allowed him to breathe, he was unable to protect them anymore.

Minnie looked sad, despite Kurt being what was essentially her prison guard. He pushed himself up against the wall as Enyo peered around the corner, at the charred, bloody mess.

“Chunky,” she mused, then looked over to her companions. “Is he alright?”

Minnie pressed the button on her glove to activate her communicator. Since being shot in the throat, Minnie’s voice had been replaced by a synthetic version, activated by a button in her glove.

“He was shot in the lung. We need Epione, or he’s going to die when the Medifoam loses form.”

Enyo nodded, and swapped guns with Kurt, handing him the pistol while she readied the assault rifle.

“Alright, comrades, we must hurry and find medical help for Kurt. How is your movement?”

Kurt, with Minnie’s help, managed to stand, but he had also been shot in the leg. Walking would be agony, and Minnie was not strong enough to help for long.

“Not well, ma’am,” he admitted. “I don’t think I’m going far without help.”

Minnie held her hand out for the rifle. Enyo recoiled slightly, but Kurt nodded.

“We’re out of options, ma’am. Warsaw can’t carry me, but you can. If she was going to betray us, she’s had plenty of opportunities before now to do so.”

Minnie was touched by this trust Kurt had placed in her. Enyo groaned, but relented, taking Kurt’s arm and handing the assault rifle to Minnie. She checked the ammunition, and nodded.

“Alright, comrades. We need to keep moving. Away from here.”

An explosion in the tunnels ahead alerted Zeus immediately. His head snapped towards the sound, his eyes focusing on the dark ahead.

“We have a destination,” he said, checking his rifle. Fully loaded and ready for combat.

Zeus motioned forward with his hand and started running as fast as his armor would allow him to. Directly behind him was Abigail, used to the conditions of traveling with gear and armor. Trailing behind, out of breath, was Epione.

“This is,” Epione wheezed as she ran. “The worst... thing...”

Zeus suddenly stopped, pressing his back into the wall around a corner. His rifle came up, ready to fire when he rounded the corner. Abigail took a position next to Zeus, her hands steadily holding a handgun.

The two of them could hear three voices around the corner. A gruff man, a simulated woman and... a bubbly Russian.

Zeus turned the corner, and found a rifle pointed at him by Minnie. She immediately lowered the gun when she processed it was Zeus. She pressed the button on her glove.

“I am so sorry, Zeus,” she said. “We have been fighting this gang.”

Epione, finally arriving, hunched over and clutched her knees. Enyo smirked at her compatriot.

“Is good to see you, mousy one,” Enyo said, earning a snort from Epione.

Enyo helped Kurt sit on the ground, allowing Epione to kneel beside him and check his wounds. From what she could see, he had a punctured lung that was sealed with Medifoam. Poorly.

“Zeus?” Epione said

Her commanding officer crouched down beside her. “What it is, Epione?”

“Kurt’s not going to survive unless we get him out of here now. The Medifoam was applied, but it’s filled up his lung, so his breathing is degrading it faster.”

Kurt coughed in surprise, then tried to breathe less.

“Kurt, we’ve already sent Tartarus and Thanatos away.” Zeus made eye contact with his marine. “I can get you out, but that means someone here has to leave with you. As you can see, you and I are the only combat personnel present.”

Abigail cleared her throat.

“You, me, and the Selene sniper. I value your tactical input, marine, so be honest with me. Who can I spare to save your life?”

Kurt breathed out slowly, then took stock of the team. Zeus, the commanding officer, was non-negotiable. That took a trained gun and the leader away from the team. Epione was not a combatant, but if someone else was wounded, the team would need her expertise. Enyo had already been in two firefights with Kurt, and he knew she could carry him, but that took technical expertise away from the team. Minnie could not carry him, but her technical knowledge could replace Enyo’s if needed. He did not even consider Abigail. She wasn’t Zeus’s to command.

“You can spare Enyo,” he said. Zeus nodded thoughtfully, so Kurt continued. “Enyo’s technical expertise can be filled by Warsaw’s, and she’s already been in two firefights. Plus, she can actually carry me.”

“Agreed,” Zeus said, standing up. “Enyo, you’re new objective is to get Kurt to a medical bay quickly. We’ll stay and continue to search for Dionysus and Winters.”

Enyo didn’t argue, though she wanted to. Wordlessly, the Russian grabbed the Dwarf’s arm, and helped him stand.

“Do not die,” Enyo said. “I will be angry.”

Enyo and Kurt started to slowly limp in the direction Zeus had arrived from, leaving the rest to contemplate their new situation.

Minnie, still holding Kurt’s rifle, spoke with her synthetic voice. “The people we were fighting, they had a cobra on their armor, and Kurt thought they had military training.”

Zeus nodded, and connected his comms to Alice. “Cobra on the armor?”

“There are few instances of a cobra on armor, but the closest match I found was recruitment ads Alliance marines reported on destroyed worlds. They identify themselves as Copperhead.”

Epione furrowed her brow. “A copperhead isn’t a cobra, though. Is it?”

“You are correct, Epione, its a viper. Given their gang-like and paramilitary activities, this may either be intentional or accidental.”

“That’s more information than we’ve had since landing on this planet,” Abigail said.

Armed with new knowledge, Abigail relayed this to the Selene side of the war while Alice did so for the Alliance.

Zeus glanced at Minnie. “Are you going to be able to use that?”

Minnie looked at the rifle, then shrugged, pressing the button on her glove. “I am used to handguns. This was out of necessity.”

Zeus knew that, in a firefight, he’d want to have a weapon that he knew more than one he did not. He pulled out his sidearm, and held it out for Minnie. She took it, then handed him the rifle. Since she had no training with anything other than a paintball gun, Zeus gave the rifle to Epione.

“Alright, Olympus,” Zeus said, though most of his squad was no longer there. “We need to find Dionysus and Winters. Epione, Minnie, you two in the middle. I’ll lead, and Sorel will bring up the rear.”

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