Ha, it's been awhile, eh? Sorry about that. It's hard to get a constant internet connection while on the road. I'm on my own again, I'll get into that in my next post. Instead, I was reminiscing earlier, figured I should share the story.
It was back when the Agency was still large, when Cal was still the Commander...
I had just finished breakfast when the intercom crackled to life: "Lieutenant Commander Carter to the briefing room at once" I wasted no time. When I arrived I saw the the room was already filled: Raven squad was there, Cal, Jenkins, Hattery, and Dixon.
"Glad to see you join us, Carter, please, take your seat." Cal motioned to my chair at the table.
As soon as I sat, Jenkins stood up and began speaking. "We have an operation for you. As it turns out, we have a request for a simple reconnaissance mission. There are some Class 2's who are believed to be attempting to create World War III. This will be your insertion point." He pulled up a map on the screen, it was the Russian/Ukraine border.
Cal spoke up, "This is very important to the big wigs. We have both the United States and Russia petitioning for our help."
Suddenly one of the ensigns spoke, "Sir? The Russians want us to spy on their own people? Why don't they deal with it themselves?"
"Well, they want us to deal with it, as the Class 2's have them scared to do anything. You'll find the full breakdown in your files."
"Why send Raven? Wouldn't Panther be more suited for this?" I asked with full seriousness, since Panther was more suited for stealth operations.
Cal answered: "Well, the request came straight from the top: Raven or nobody. You're the best of the best, you can handle it."
The floor was turned over to Hattery as that point. He merely told us to be ready to depart early the next morning. I made sure to be ready early. I had just put my gear in the Osprey when I ran into Sam. She seemed pretty distracted and had looked like she was about to say something. When she didn't I asked her about it.
"Oh...well, I don't want to bother you, but...is it just me, or does this whole operation seem a bit...off to you?"
"It does. Why send us for this? I don't think the Russians would intentionally set us up, neither would the United States. I don't know, this just feels wrong."
"Glad I'm not the only one." After she said that, the rest of Raven walked into the bay and began loading their gear. We set out with little to no conversation.
When we were within a few hours of the LZ, I entered the cockpit and put on my headset. I was the link to headquarters and would stay in the Osprey while Raven did the recon. After running a few checks, I was satisfied that my link to Jenkins was good enough to relay orders and reports. I could hear him in one ear while the other was for Sam and the rest of the team. I relayed that this was a simple recon mission: no shooting, no blowing stuff up. Just get in, watch the area for a day, and get out.
After the instructions were given, it was silent in the bay. These soldiers were professional: no chit-chat, the only sounds that could be heard were last-minute double-checks of gear. Suddenly, My headset burst into life. Jenkins was trying to say something, but it was full of interference.
"Hey, Hattery, we having some comm troubles?" Hattery was in charge of communications while Dixon was the main pilot of the Osprey.
"Uh, let's try the back-ups....any better?"
"No, I can't even hear Jenkins anymore. Jammer?"
"I doubt it. No one knows we're here, it's probably regular interference. Let's just..." He got cut off as warning lights began flashing in the cockpit. I barely had time to strap myself into a chair as the Osprey was rocked by an impact. The last I remember before being thrown into the bulkhead was hearing Sam's order to bail from the back.
I came to with the smell of fire filling my nose. And a severe headache. I heard the sound of Sam's voice...but I couldn't make out what she was saying. Then arms attempted to pull me out as I watched Hattery and Dixon get pulled outside. I, however, was not so lucky. Part of the bulkhead had collapsed onto my legs, pinning me into place.
I saw a few figures enter the crushed cockpit. Each tried to left the bulkhead. After what felt like an eternity, it was removed and I was free. Sam was able to support my weight as we retreated from the crash site. I noticed that there were only two other members of Raven present, each was also busy with our pilots.
We finally made it to an area where we stopped. Sam immediately pulled out her emergency medical kit and begin examining me. I was still in a daze, it took me a while to focus on what she was saying.
"...ollow my finger with your eyes, sir." She moved it around in front of my face, and I did my best. "You can hear me?" I nodded. She looked relieved.
"We're missing one. Where is he, Sam?" She looked away as I asked.
"He...didn't make it." I realized that he must have been hit by debris from the Osprey. She was blaming herself for his death.
That night, waiting for our help to arrive, we had to evade patrols. There were many close calls, but we still completed our mission: there really were Class 2's attempting to act like a Russian invasion force's advance scout. They had some stolen ordnance that Russia "neglected" to mention to us, that's how they took down the Osprey. A day after our report, Russian special forces dealt with the situation quietly.
Dixon and Hattery were able to move around on their own, but Dixon had left the ordeal with the worst injury of us: a sprained ankle.
That mission is how we all bonded. Me, Dixon, Hattery, Sam, and the two ensigns that survived: Sean and Franklin. Surviving a situation like that with someone makes you respect them. In the aftermath, Sam had to train two replacements, Dixon and Hattery received a new bird, Franklin transferred to a new squad, and Sean was given a small promotion. The services for the dead ensign were heartfelt.
This was the first mission that Sam began to notice that I wasn't "normal." I should've been severely concussed when they pulled me out. I thought I was just lucky.
Today, out of that small group of six, there's only five left. It will stay that way. I will find them, and anyone who stands in my way will be met with my wrath. They'll wish for me to kill them.