Hawk Squadron: From Gue'la to Warrior Pt. 5

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Rook Hawkins


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Rook saw them first, only two of them. They came from the right side, parallel to where Rook and the others were. Galeo and Cameron had just completed their objectives and had jumped down and told Rook of the incident with the two Cougars, the two Cougars that now made their four man raiding party into a four man watch complete with prisoners.

Rook had guessed the Cougar's team leader would send out some patrols after the shooting died, and it was only by chance that the Hawks had been alert enough to catch two off guard. Now it was time to complete the mission.

Rook keyed his helmet comm once more, "Harold, count two moving on your right. Circle around and catch them by surprise. Then I want you to do the following."


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Harold smiled as the details unfolded. "Yes sir."

"After you do that, wait for us, we should be there by the time you're finished."

"Copy."

Harold gestured towards the slump of armor that loosely fit around a burnt bush that had been hit several times. "Put that somewhere where it's noticeable but semi-concealed. Hide it in the shade or something." Briggs nodded as he and Markus picked up the bush and moved it to a tree. They propped it so it gave the impression of a hurt soldier from a distance.

Happy with the mock-up, Harold and the others circled around and waited passively for their two new friends to arrive.


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Tanson and Neal found their way along the right sides of the battle zone without incident. Either the Hawks were all dead or they were hiding from them. Which ever it was, Tanson never liked this kind of mission. He had to be used as bait, probably because Kal was jealous of him. He frowned; Kal had always been jealous of him. He was better at life then Kal was. Tanson had more kills, more honors, better accuracy, but he couldn't lead.

Which was why he was probably stuck here. Probably. He never knew for sure, and his inability to make decisions in the heat of combat played harshly on his ego. Maybe one day he'd be able to command troops if he got control over his feelings. Maybe.

Even still, he trusted Kal to be a decent leader, and knew that Kal was usually right. Tanson shook his head. A few more meters to go and they'd be in the tree line. The Gyro-laser fire had stopped long ago from the complex. No use wasting ammo when everyone was paralyzed, which the Hawk's had to be. Right? Of course.

As the shade from the paper trees fell over them, Tanson brought his gun up quickly. He found comfort knowing that Neal had found it too, both firing a few shots into the limp corpse. They approached with caution. Tanson noted that the figure wasn't moving. It was paralyzed. It had to be. Tanson fired one more shot into the armor just to be sure. Then he kicked the armor over to view his kill.

Puzzlement threw itself over Tanson's leathery features. It wasn't human. It might have been some form of a living thing decades ago, maybe generations. But now all it was a pile of paper and dirt matter formed quickly into the silhouette of a human.

Dread overtook him. He felt all color fade from his face, and every muscle tense. What did this mean? His answer came as several figures,movingfigures this time, approached them from behind and in front. Tanson and Neal both struggled with their Gyro's but two enemy guns found their way into their spines.

One man, his rank told him to be the Assistant Team Leader of the Hawks, snatched their guns. "You are now prisoners of Hawk squadron. Take off your armor."

"You aren't going to shoot them, Harold?" The one with dark skin asked the Assistant Team Leader.

Harold's eyes reviewed Tanson and Neal, finally answering the dark skinned man. "No. We're going to play around with the enemy Team Leaders mind first. Then we'll shoot them." Harold's expression went from passive to serious as he glared into Tanson's face as if to penetrate his skin with his sight, "Now strip off that armor!"

What was there that Tanson could do? He wasn't cut out for making decisions or clarifying orders. All he could do was follow them. One day he'd be good enough to figure a way out of a situation like this. He might…


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Rook found himself impressed by the speed at which Harold had carried out his orders. The two Cougars, now dressed up in Hawk Squadron armor, shuddered and blinked - obviously unaware of the fate that awaited them. Not wanting to waste more armor, one piece was taken from the decoy body and the other was Briggs'.

Ralus jumped on the opportunity. "So Briggs, defected already?"

"Shut up."

"I think that phrase should become our Squadron Motto."

Briggs gave a scowl look. "Lead, permission to shoot the guy in the funny hat?"

"Granted."

"Itoldyou it was a funny hat."

Rook ignored Ralus for the moment and turned to the two Cougars. His prisoners had also been stripped, and now Rook was wearing their armor, as was Cameron. Rook again returned his attention to Briggs, "Did you fix the Gyros?"

"Yep."

"I don't get it." Cameron shrugged.

"It's simple really." Briggs relaxed into a lean, "Usually lasers are really nothing more then light that has been focused intensely. However using real lasers in a tactics game such as this would mean death, as the laser energy would eat right through the armor with no problem. So the Gyro's laser is greatly reduced in power, but can still hurt a lot if you get hit. It becomes more like a hot rubber bullet then anything else."

"Tell me something I don't know."

"The laser in the Gyro is a laser in the fact that it has power, but if you lower the weapons intensity to practically nothing, all you have left is actually a signal, transported by the light. Think fiber-optics, as it works in basically the same way. The signal is what triggers the paralysis on the armor, using the light as a guide and a way to get from point A to point B. By disabling the signal, all the Gyro fires is the laser light."

"Oh!" Cameron said, as he suddenly caught on. "And without the signal the armor doesn't detect the light as a threat, so it doesn't activate the nerve endings which cause temporary paralysis."

"Correct, but that doesn't mean it won't sting when you get hit."

"And now you deserve a funny hat." Ralus plopped his paper hat onto Briggs head.

"Exactly when can I shoot him?"

Rook smirked, "Let's move out.  The rest of you keep your guns trained on our four friends, if they do anything they aren't supposed to, shoot them in the back."


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Kal saw several figures exiting the tree line. "Don't shoot!" He ordered abruptly as he saw that they were his four scouts with what appeared to be four enemy prisoners coming at a quick run. One of the scouts shouted, "Sir, they're right behind us!"

As if in response, several laser shots exited from the tree line. The first two bolts caught the lead scout in the back, causing him to twitch and fall to the ground hard. The next shot took the second lead scout in the chest as he twisted to return fire. Kal's face turned red. This was not going the way he had planned. "Open fire!"


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Tanson saw the front two imitations fall to the ground. For once in his life, he felt adrenaline overcome him. He saw the opportunity, pouncing on the rear imitation cougars. It was only when he was in mid leap did he feel the first prong of pain. It found itself embedded in his lower back, climbing horrifically upward along his spine and through his limbs. He felt it burn along his neck, into his brain and he wanted to scream. He tried to scream, but his lips wouldn't work.

Only then did he realize he wasn't moving. As a matter of fact he was face down on the ground and he didn't know how he got there. The pain continued to eat away at him, and soon, he felt his whole body blistering. He had been shot by his own Team and had failed in his own attempt to be something. How embarrassing. Now he'd never be able to lead troops. Most likely.


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Rook lay still on the ground.  Brigg's had been correct, in that the Gyro's would still sting when you got hit.  And the bolt Rook had taken was no different.  It stung him right in the side, even felt his skin blister under the heat.  But he wasn't paralyzed, he was still capable of moving, even though the Cougar Team Leader wouldn't know that until it was too late.

From his position on the dirt, he could see the fight unfolding.  As the real Cougars charged the fake "scouts," Rook was grateful for the accuracy of the shooters on the wall, as they unknowingly picked off their own members. One by one they took out each "Hawk" and Rook could see the pride in the face of the Team leader as he smiled on his "remaining" scouts.Keep smiling, Rook thought. For your time is almost up.


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Kal was pleased with the end. All the firing had stopped, as he witnessed his two remaining scouts shooting into the tree line. After a few quick shots, again, the tree line fell silent. Kal took that to mean the end was near.  It wasn't until he saw one of his scouts shout up to him that he felt comforted in his victory. It's done.

But something was off. The scout who'd first been vaped suddenly picked himself up.  But Kal knew that was impossible, once the armor was activated and you were paralyzed, you were out for the count.  Even with that logic burning through his mind, the scout was standing on his own feet unassisted.  Very carefully, smoothly, the scout pulled off the helmet, looking behind him towards the other scouts. 

With the grace in which he had stood, the scout chucked the helmet away.  Kal watched the helmet, saw it glide through the air.  When the helmet hit the ground, Kal finally returned to see the miracle at hand, and as he did so his heart sank to his toes. With each inhale and exhale his lungs would grow heavier, until at last he stood looking down on the revealed features of Rook Darksky. Too stunned to move, too stunned to think, Kal could feel his legs trying to give way.  It was as if his whole body knew he'd been defeated. 

Darksky pulled up a small device, and for the first time in his life, Kal felt tired. He had been deceived, and he let it all happen under his nose, he'd been too proud. He saw Darksky push the button, watched the device activate.  Some of his men screamed or tried to scramble away but it was too late, and within a moment his world became engulfed with pain.




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