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Class: Story
Status: Incomplete
Author: Beta-Centary
Availability: Crux Station can also be found here.

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Prologue

A.

At Crux Prime there is a dark secret just below the Maelstrom Ocean. And one small research station would be the point of the conflict of all conflicts.

B.

After Vergo Station scientists discover what appears to be a metal sample in a Maelstrom Core NF Marine Recon Unit 4 must secure the metal object and fight for their lives and the scientists. Faced with over whelming odds eight recon marines must play a game of treachery and deceit, one of which no one could realize until now. But first Recon Unit 4 must uncover the secrets of Vergo Station, Crux Prime and the clock is constantly running.....

Chapter One "Discovery"

Crux Prime 4:14

Wade stared at the jet black form infront of him. The other divers walked up to the craft and tried finding a door. No such luck.

"You getting this Sally?" He said.

"Yup Wade, I am getting a good view." Sarah replied.

All of a sudden, she heard static.

"Dive team! Dive team this is Sarah! Come in!" She exclaimed.

Chapter Two "On Arrival"

Crux Prime 7:47

The Dust Off soared across the jagged surface. The Hammer which had been damaged in spaceport and was undergoing repairs, had received the distress signal and Sergeant Butcher's Marine Recon Unit was ordered to respond. The second dropship reported in.

"Tactical this Eagle 2, we had a downed Dust Off out our right flank. It's pretty shot up. Should we check or head on current course Eagle 1?" Color Sergeant "Machima" called in.

"Check out that downed Dust Off Machima. We are almost to Vergo Station, report to Vergo as soon as you are done with the Dust Off." Sergeant "Nuketown" said.

"Can do Nuketown." Machima said as his Dust Off banked and landed.


Sergeant "Kitten" walked out of the Dust Off and brought her machine gun barrel up. Sergeant "Tactical" came up to the door and opened it. Nuketown entered with his shotgun barrel up and at the ready. Warrant Officer "Appt" rushed in along with Sergeant "Trent".

Appt entered the icy corridor with his M16 at the ready. Trent followed guarding their rear with his MP5. A door opened and a scientist stepped out, closely followed by three others. All of them were scared and on the verge of panic. After all it's every day you get stormed by the NF Marine Corp. Tactical moved in with Kitten guarding the rear.

"The civvies are all in the main room Tactical" Trent reported.

"Good get me a guide to this pit." Tactical called in.

A minute later one of the scientists exited the main room and greeted Tactical. Her name was Sarah and she was here to study the Maelstrom Cores they had been collecting. Her daughter Kirsty had been brought her pet seal with her. Its fur was maelstrom resistant but Wendy was still young.

"Some of us went to NF Station Beta with the hovercraft in the garage. Several ladders connect the levels. E-Deck has the kitchen, main room and drilling room. D-Deck has the bio labs. C-Deck has our rooms with A and B Deck as storage levels Sergeant." She informed Tactical.

Chapter 3 "ARA Arrival"

Vergo Station, 2 Hrs after arrival

"Tactical, this is Machima. That Dust Off had around five civvies, were all smashed and we are headed to Vergo now." He reported.

"Good job Machima. We have an ARA Dust Off on radar" Tactical said.

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Vergo Station, 4 minutes to ARA arrival

The second marine Dust Off landed and Machima stepped out, followed by Nuketown and Sergeant "Book". Sergeant "Command" walked out brandishing his Akimbo MP8s.They walked into the main room and watched as the various scientists watched the movie playing.

"These the civvies you found, Tactical" Book asked?

"Yeah, they were nervous about the accident. Turns out the dive team they sent down got attacked by some beast." Tactical commented.

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Vergo Station, ARA arrival

The ARA scientists appeared out of the side of their Dust Off and carried their bags over the door. Tactical opened the door and gestured them in. They walked into the main room and they unpacked their medicines. Tactical and Kitten went outside and stared at the Maelstrom Ocean in the pool just before them. The civvies opened and closed the door and left for their rooms.

As Tactical opened the door, Kitten saw the first ARA commando raise his FEMOS and fire. The other commandos raised their FEMOS's and started to fire. Before Kitten could react, she was thrown into the steel handrail before her MG even had a chance to get into a firing position. Tactical pulled Kitten from their line of fire and fired his MP8 into an ARA commando. Instantly he smashed.

Tactical ducked behind a corner just as a burst impacted where Tactical had just left. An enemy commando threw a grenade into the corridor. A second later the enemy commandos heard the detonation. Two commandos stepped into the corridor and Tactical dropped down behind them as silent as a ninja. A drop of water fell on the first commando's shoulder and he turned around as Tactical's Desert Hawk and MP8 fired simultaneously into the enemy's chests at point blank.

Machima and Nuketown had heard the rifle fire up on A-Deck and had been exchanging fire with two enemy commandos that had hurried up a ladder to B-Deck. Trent, Command, and Book were still on C-Deck and had taken cover in an unused bedroom. They were currently firing at 4 enemy commandos on E-Deck.

Chapter 4 "Lines in the Ice"

Tactical aimed his maghook and fired. The bulb crashed into the railing on A-Deck and Tactical pressed the magnetizer button. He grabbed Kitten's hand and they zoomed up toward A-Deck, firing as he went.

"Good luck kiddies!" Tactical exclaimed as he flew to A-Deck. He fired again smashing one of the four commandos on E-Deck. Tactical threw a grenade onto B-Deck and heard the explosion. Then the lights went out and the NF Marines saw nothing but pure darkness.

"Call in and get those lights on now before we get smashed!" Tactical shouted over the helmet radios. Within seconds the Auxiliary Lights came on casting their blood red glow over the corridors, slowly getting brighter and brighter.

"Trent calling in." Trent reported

"Command calling in." Command reported.

"Nuketown calling in." Nuketown reported.

"Machima calling in." Machima reported.

"Appt calling in." Appt reported.

"Book calling in." He reported. Bullets slammed and shattered into the walls near Book. Several bullets flew into Book's chest, sending him flying backward. He dropped his MP8 and it fell ever so slowly sending bullets flying into walls. With that an ARA Dust Off took off toward Vergo Station.

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Vergo Station, 57 minutes after the ARA arrival.

"Five more bogies leaving a Dust Off, alright scratch that, four bogies." Appt reported. The four new ARA commandos entered and started firing up at Trent, Command, and the injured Book. All of a sudden the aux. lights went out and Vergo Station was plunged into darkness yet again. Two of the commandos stormed up the E-Deck ladder and got to the D-Deck ladder. The commandos crept up and got ready to enact their trap. Nuketown slung his M259 and crawled over to the A-Deck ladder and climbed down to C-Deck. The other two enemy commandos came up the D-Deck ladder behind Nuketown and got ready to fire. Trent left cover and ran into Nuketown infront of a spare bedroom. The ARA commandos opened fire as Trent kicked the door in, Nuketown was too late through, and as he smashed, Trent smashed the commandos who had smashed Nuketown. One of the commandos prepared to throw a grenade into the room Trent was occupying, as one of Kitten's throwing axes slammed into him, smashing him instantly.

"You think I am out of this one, good luck on that." She said as she threw her second axe and caught her first ax.

"Nice to know you are back in this Kitten, we needed the help" Trent replied. With that Tactical fired his maghook at C-Deck and slide down the line. He crashed into two of the three remaining commandos and they smashed. He then fired at an enemy commando on E-Deck and that commando smashed. Trent left the room and crouched all the way to the E-Deck ladder. He went up and entered a room, to his surprise he saw the Gas Heating System, shot up. He realized what it meant and he dropped his MP8 in fear as his face went pale.

Chapter 5 "Burning Decks"

Vergo Station

Trent backed into a wall and picked up his MP5. By now the ARA commandos had started to back off and had gotten trapped on C-Deck. Command had carried the injured Book up to A-Deck and had already smashed two of the commandos on E-Deck.

"Hey, Tactical, the heating system has been shot up and the gaseous atmosphere is almost at 5%." He reported.

"And that means what Trent?" Tactical asked.

"It means we can't fire our guns after it gets over 5%, the atmosphere will be explosive."

"Try to patch the heating system now Trent." He ordered.

With that Appt nailed the remaining ARA reinforcements. C-Deck was now clear. The two commandos on B-Deck moved down and the first commando smashed. The second later the next commando smashed. The last commando on E-Deck hurried up the ladder and fired at B and A-Deck, which ignited the Decks. Command and Tactical barely made it to a room. Soon Tactical saw a small problem. And it threw a BIG wrench in the works. And it had a name.

"Kirsty get off the metal grilles now!" Tactical screamed as Kirsty slid down the searing metal grille. Tactical lunged and almost made it. He just fell short by an inch. Then the Decks collapsed into the Circular Central Pool. And Kirsty and Tactical fell over the burning grille and they plunged down through the air, then the Maelstrom Ocean swallowed the duo.

"Please, help me!" Exclaimed the lone remaining enemy commando. Just as Command brought his MP8's barrel the commando's fingers let go. And he plummeted to the deadly ocean below. Just as Command turned around the icy ground where he was standing collapsed under his weight and he joined the others who had fallen.

Chapter 6 "Survival of the fittest"

Vergo Station

"Crux." Said Book who had seen the entire collapse from start to ending He watched as Command and Tactical popped up with a few seconds later Kirsty. The lone commando popped up next. Then the dark shapes underneath them came up and the first shape went right by the commando. He panicked and swan for shore. It turned around and leapt out of the ocean. The Maelstrom Orca landed on and bit down on the unlucky commando's chest, pulling him under where his Imagination Spark disappeared. The leaking imagination soon drew other orcas up and one swam by Command. It turned and bit down on Command's legs and started to pull him under.

"No strobie is going to smash me if I can smash it first." Command said before the maelstrom orca pulled him under. It shook him furiously, but he grabbed its dorsal fin and held on tight. He fired his Desert Hawk three times at its temple. It started to sink and the other orcas headed to their dead comrade. An orca bit down on his left leg and pulled it off. Command swam up to where Tactical was and they made their way to shore while the orcas feasted on the dead orca.

By now every marine including Book had gotten to E-Deck some way or another. Soon it was decided, Kitten and Machima would go down to the "spaceship" with Sarah in the diving bell.

"Tactical, an hoverfleet is on its way and it ain't friendly. It's the Void Marines." Command said.

"How many?" Tactical asked.

"Twenty one." Book said.

"Lead by?" Tactical asked.

"Lead by codename Knight. He was the tough cookie who broke into typoonus's castle and disabled the security system, and enabled you to get in with your strike team. With that the marines loaded up and began the trek to their respective Dust Off. With that the Void Hovercraft soared over the dark and gloomy crux surface towards Vergo Station.

Chapter 7 "Crux Storm"

Tactical was still loading the last few scientists into Eagle 2 when Book hopped onboard of Eagle 2 and revved the Dust Off's engine. He stepped inside of Vergo Station and started walking up to C-Deck. A shot rang out and Tactical dropped like a stone to the metal grille.

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Vergo Station, 15 minutes after attempted murder

"Wake up already, come on just wake up." The dark figure said as Tactical started to regain consciousness. He shook him even more and slowly Tactical began to get up.

"Oh crux." Tactical said.

"I won't hurt you Butcher Schofield, you are in my room. Name is Shaw." The dark figure said.

"Okay, why am I in here?" Tactical asked.

"You were shot in the neck. Just watch the screen and see the proof." Tactical got up from the wooden bed and watched the computer screen. Shaw clicked on a video icon and a video clip popped up on the screen. He pressed the play icon and Tactical watched as Appt appeared with his rifle. A second later the screen showed Tactical dropping to the grille and being kicked in the pool by Appt.

"So Appt shot me in the neck but my officer cuff protected my neck from breaking and smashing. Than the maelstrom ocean restarted my imagination spark, while partly infecting it." Tactical said.

"Yup, that's what happened." Shaw said.

"Alright then, has the marine force left?" Asked Tactical.

"No." Shaw said.

Within a few minutes Tactical and Shaw got out and had gotten all the marines together.

"In our mistiest, there is a traitor and he is Appt. He shot me in the officer cuff I wear but the bullet didn't pass through. Now get him!" Tactical shouted. Within minutes they had Appt cuffed to a pole in an obscure room.

"Talk now Appt." Kitten said as she brought one of her axes to his face.

"I work for the NFICG. In other words the Nexus Force Intel Convergence Gathering, its run by the Airforce Fleetmaster and Ground Forcemaster. The goal is to keep the Nexus Force ahead of the Void and any other threats at any cost to the Nexus Force. Made up of the best and most loyal NF fighters, they are the elite of the NF Commando Battalions. A group of 6 NF Marines is definitely no match for their Crux Contingent.

Chapter 8 "Crux Races"

Vergo Station

"You realize that we are going to leave you here for the void troops to smash you don't you. Either way you will be smashed, we are taking every mine, gun, and grenade. You could reconsider and aid us against the soon to be arriving void marines." Tactical said.

"No, you don't get it do you grunts. I will never aid you mere grunts against the Void SAF. That's right, the marine hovercraft have the Special Assault Force in them. And the NFICG reinforcement forces are going to arrive any time now." Appt said perfectly calmly with a sneer. Command picked up Appt's berretta and walked out.

"Good luck Appt. I hope the snakes spare you and your scumkind." Tactical said as he walked through the outer door. Appt simply stared as the marines left Vergo for the last time.

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Marine Dust Offs and Civilian Hovercraft

"Book get us out of here on the double!" Tactical shouted as Book started to rev the engine. Finally the engine sputtered to life and Eagle 1 lifted of the icy crux ground. Eagle 2 and Hovercraft Cetha lifted off in pursuit of eagle 1. Soon enough.

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Vergo Station SAF arrival

= Knight stepped out of the lead hovercraft and smothered the outer door with several blocks of C-6. He then stepped away and felt the shockwave blow past him. Five SAF troopers stormed through the corridor and kicked down every door until they got to the main room. Knight walked by the SAF troopers perfectly calmly just watching the troops shattering door after door. After the SAF troopers cleared the entire station a few of them dragged Appt out of the main room to kneel in front of Knight. Appt for his part did just glare at Knight and the surrounding SAF troopers. =

"So this is the pathetic Nexus Force Intel Convergence Gathering trooper. Appt I assume, either way you and your comrades are domed. I sent six of Task Force Crux after the escaping hovercraft. I chose the void marine force hovercraft for the element of surprise. And you fell for it." Knight said with a grin. <p style="margin: 0in 0in 10pt; line-height: normal;"> "By the time you get the ship out of the ice you will be surrounded and cutoff from the other masses." Appt said calmly with an impassive tone.

"You misjudged me, Appt; I don't plan on escaping by hovercraft at all. I have a totally different plan that your nexus force command (NFC) couldn't swallow. And that reminds me, begin setting the explosives in a semi-circle" Knight said.

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Marine Dust Offs and Civilian Hovercraft

"Six enemy hovercraft are following us Tactical." Book said as he flew the Eagle 1 over the crux surface.

"Then get ready to rumble, Book. We have a challenge ahead of us and it ain't a pretty one." Tactical said. The six void hovercrafts were visible now and they were almost gaining on us. Only the superior engines of the Dust Offs were keeping us ahead of them. The SAF troopers were firing their AK-58s despite the vast distance from the convoy.

"Ignore the AK-58 fire Book. They are too far away to do any harm." Trent said. A shrieking sound came from behind the convoy as the enemy hovercrafts radar signatures dramatically jumped closer to the blue friendly units. Bullets started to ricochet around the Dust Offs interior.

"Okay, correction. They are close enough to do us harm now." Trent said with a shocked tone. Eagle 2 flew just behind Eagle 1 as the void hovercraft caught up with the convoy.

Chapter 9 "Crux Challenge"

Marine Dust Offs and Civilian Hovercraft

"Book, duck now!" Tent screamed as the SAF troopers opened the hovercraft doors. He fired his lazer MP8 with ever more fury as the SAFs brought up their AK-58 barrels and started to fire at Book. The Dust Off shook with every minor collision by the duo. Bullets were ricocheting everywhere in the two military craft. The gusty winds only made the firefight worse.

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Vergo Station

Knight stepped out onto C-Deck and watched the orcas just staring at the 36 SAF troops of the Special Assault Force Crux Task Force. An unlucky trooper fell into the pool and he smashed. Knight simply stared impassively and kept his poker face.

"Sir, the diving bell is ready for submergence. The divers are gearing up right now and should be ready within approximately 15 minutes. A hovercraft reported in and claimed an all-out firefight was occurring with the nexus force in the convoy." Cero said.

"Good, begin interrogating the POW and establish contact with the pursuitcraft, I need a total overplay of the engagement. Contact the radioman of Delta 6 and get me a headset." Knight said with his usual impassive voice.

"Status update sir. The barrels are in place. Detonation is under command of your hovercraft." A SAF trooper said to Knight.

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Vergo Station

"Talk and you get the bottle." Knight said as his captive opened his eyes. Knight had ordered that he get locked in the generator room with no liquids. So far Appt had been cuffed to a chair right infront the generator for two hours. His resolve was being tested as no NFICG training would ever have prepared him.

"Fine then, how much do you like your life? I will let you go if your tell Mr. Cero here where the other marines went. He knows about Nuketown, as a fair warning. If you try to misdirect us you will be shot dead where you stand." Knight said as he walked out.

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Vergo Station

"OP names, Kitten and Machima are down in the cavern with a civilian, a Sarah Herriot. The others are in the convoy." Cero told Knight with his voice even more impassive than his superiors.

Chapter 10 "Ice Cavern"

Kitten surfaced fifty from the ice floor. Machima came up and stared at the jet black craft I front of the duo. Sarah surfaced and started swimming to the ice store.

"Come on, it may be impressive but we have work to do." She said as soon as she reached the shore. The two marines finally broke the trance and began swimming to the shore.

"You saw this already?" Machima asked.

"Yeah, just on video screen but well enough to make out most details. It was at first awe inspiring and no I got used to it." Sarah continued as she walked over to the craft. By now the marines had climbed out of the water and kitten was gunning the MP8s. She pointed the two submachine guns at the water and watched for any surfacing enemy troops.

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Vergo Station

"Sir, the NFICG reinforcements are here. They brought a platoon of rangers, one Hovercraft, Air, Sea, and Land (HASL) team. Three assault brigades are en route as well. We stand no chance if they storm the station." A aid told Knight.

"Transfer demo command to my gauntlet and alert the troops. Now private first class!" Knight said. The former private's face lit up like a bulb after he realized he had been promoted.

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Marine Convoy

Tactical's MP8 roared and spat out its lethal bursts with increasing fury. Three SAF troopers jumped onto the Dust Off and they got blown back into the enemy hovercraft. They smashed and the hovercraft fell back to a safe distance. Shaw went to the small pastide box in the rear of the Dust Off. He opened it and pulled out several obscure looking pieces of metal out.

"What is this stuff?" He asked.

"That is a LAW. Take the tube and connect it to trigger piece. Then take the aiming module and force it on the top. Then you are done and it's ready to fire. Now destroy a pursuing hovercraft with it rather than us." Tactical said as Shaw got brought the LAW together on his shoulder.

"It's only one shot through, so don't miss." Tactical continued. Shaw took aim and fired. The explosive missile crashed through one hovercraft and embedded itself in a second. One second later the warhead exploded. The hovercraft shattered and shrapnel impacted everything in fifty feet of the hull. One of the five remaining hovercraft started to shudder as the engine died. The hovercraft barely made it 12 feet before it exploded. Now only four of the original six hovercraft were still in any working condition. Even through one was about to crash into the ice surface and could be considered dead weight.

Chapter 11 "Storms of Glory"

Marine Convoy

"Trent, get out of the seat!" Book yelled as the void troopers pounded with driver station with a steel wall. He exchanged fire and managed to avoid the steel rounds ricocheting all around the cabin of Eagle two while successfully smashing a SAF trooper. A SAF trooper stepped out of his hovercraft and clasped the iron ladder. The trooper snatched his fallen comrade's rifle and leapt into the hovercraft with the two AK-58s. He brought them up and let rip spraying everything in the bow of the Dust Off. The instrument panel sparked and smoke began to billow from the panel. Book rolled out into the smokecloud and opened up on the two remaining SAF troopers. They smashed and Book jumped into the void marine hovercraft. The driver and radioman turned around the split second before they smashed under the barrage of steel rounds.

"Get over here everyone." Book said with a smug look on his face. Trent stepped over with a LAW in hand. A void hovercraft cruised up to the occupied vessel and Trent fired the rocket launcher. The explosive warhead smashed into the vessel and exploded. The marine Dust Off crashed into an enemy hovercraft taking that one down as well.

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Vergo Station

"Lock the prisoner in the main room and give me the key." Knight said as Appt stared at him impassively as he would any non-NF troop. His commando guard proceeded to do as their leader ordered them.

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Marine Convoy, Eagle 1

A nitrogen charge rolled into the cabin and Tactical dove out the way of the liquid nitrogen. Command lifted a box and barely managed to evade the acidic nitrogen. He dropped the box and returned fire. His well-placed steel round slammed into the SAF trooper and he smashed. Tactical then took out some gloves and cleaned all the surfaces that had been covered by the liquid nitrogen. Command then got the LAW out and aimed for the hovercraft cruising alongside them. He fired the rocket launcher and ducked in the gear compartment. The hovercraft slowed and eventually the crew jumped out. They smashed as they hit the ground in the few seconds before it exploded.

"Is it clear out there command?" Tactical asked.

Chapter 12 "Unforeseen"

Delta 4

"Ram the hovercraft driver. The marines have taken it over." One of the master sergeants said to Delta 4's driver. The driver realized what the sergeant had in mind and activated the turbo engines. Delta 4 began to shrink the distance between the two vessels and within seconds the craft were mere inches from each other. Delta 4's driver brought her up to the captured hovercraft and the two vessels impacted, spreading frozen shrapnel on any exposed surface.

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Delta 5

"Kirsty, grab my hand!" Book shouted to Kirsty as she began to slide down the hovercraft's deck. He reached for her and she reached for his outstretched hands. Another shudder went through Delta 5 as the lopsided enemy hovercraft continued to impact with Delta 5. As each impact knocked Kirsty further down over the deck, he knew he had to lunge for her.

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Delta 4

The driver let the vessel slow and cruised up behind Delta 5. He reactivated the turbos and impacted on the rear of Delta 5.

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Delta 5

Kirsty flew over the frontedge of the Delta 5 and Book stared in disbelief. He realized what he had to do. He got up and ran over the edge of Delta 5. He landed ten feet from Kirsty and scrambled to the little girl.

"Trent, I need you to come around to pick us up. I got Kirsty here with me." Book ordered.

"Already on it boss." Trent replied. Book comforted Kirsty as Trent swung Delta 5 around to pick them up. Book knew what was going to happen and told Kirsty what to do.

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Eagle 1

"Keep going onto Nexus 5, Hovercraft Cetha. We are behind you." Tactical ordered.

_______________________________________________________________________________________________

ARA Submarine "Stromwind"

The submarine surfaced in the maelstrom ocean and the deck doors opened. Two Gator gunships slowly rose out of the open doors and flew towards the crux coast. A single extra gator rose out of the Stromwind and then flew towards the crux coast.

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Eagle 1

An air-to-land missile crashed into the ground Eagle 1 had only just passed. A second later an explosion threw Eagle 1 forward. A second missile impacted infront of the Dust Off and threw it fifty feet in the air. Eagle 1's retro engines cut in and Eagle 1 landed on a cushion of air. The Dust Off shuddered but kept going. Another missile launched and it speed towards Eagle 1. Command heard the warning blip and got out of the driver's seat. He took a SMAW out. Shaw got in and deactivated the auto control. He took the wheel and Eagle 1 began to zig zag across the crux surface.

"Stop zig zaging!" Command ordered. Shaw stopped zigzagging and Command finally reached a suitable aim on the missile. The ATL missile accelerated and began its descent. Command fired the rocket launcher and watched the rockets fly towards each other, one in a descent, the other in an ascent. The second between impact or failure were the seconds between life and death.

Chapter 13 "Frozen Impact"

Eagle 1

The ATL missile spun and the two missiles skimmed each other. The land to air (LTA) missiles trajectory was affected by the impact and spun into the direction of a gator. The targeting computer recognized the gator and activated a turbo boost. The LTA rocketed towards the designated gator gunship. A fireball erupted from the main hold and the gunship began its lethal descent. Fire tore through the cockpit and the wounded pilots fell from the incinerated cockpit. Their bodies burned on the short trip to the ground. The pilots impacted and smashed. The gators trajectory placed yet another gator in danger.

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Hawk 2

"Pilot, what is that heat signature descending on us?" The gator commander asked the young and inexperienced pilot.

"I don't know sir. It has the contours of Hawk 3 and their ensigne but it can't be one of ours. Our gators are top notch." The pilot answered. His face paled as he realized the truth. Hawk 2 would die either way. In their haste to launch the fuel had not been replenished. The trip from the void airbase to the Stromwind had burned the majority of Hawk 2's fuel. As the junior pilot realized this, Hawk 3 continued its eventual yet graceful death. The two gators were doomed and only one thing could change that. A single missile launched and Hawk 2s trajectory changed ever so slightly. Hawk 3 glided down through where Hawk 2 had just left. The LTA missile began targeting mode and found a target, the gator copter call sign "Hawk 1". A blast wave spread through the air as Hawk 1 vaporized. The resounding shockwave smashed into Hawk 2 sending the copter hurtling towards Crux Prime.

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Delta 5

"Kirsty grab Trent's hand and don't realize. I will be fine just go with Trent." Book pleaded with Kirsty as the little girl cried.

"I won't leave you, I can't leave you." She cried out.

"You have to Kirsty, if you don't they will smash you. Just go, for me." Book continued.

"Ok, for you." She finally conceded.

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Hawk 2

"Stop the rotating and get us back on track." The gator commander ordered. The orders were futile as the gunship as gone already.

_______________________________________________________________________________________________

Delta 5

Trent stopped the hovercraft and pulled up Kirsty. Trent looked at Book and saw his resigned face. He started Delta 5 and took off with the last void hovercraft approaching.

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Delta 4

"Stop, so I can secure our prisoner." The sergeant ordered as he stood outside the hovercraft cabin. Book was taken onboard and Delta 4 turned back towards Vergo Station. Within the hour Delta 4's crew had snuck through the lightly defended western flank off the NF units perimeter.

Chapter 14 "Balance of Power"

Vergo Station

The hovercrafts crew dragged the bound Book into the open ground and threw him on the ground. He still failed to stir and the SAF troops dragged the body the remainder of the 20 or so feet. Books unconscious body was dropped in Vergo Stations open pool. He woke with a startled look on his face. The crane commenced its ascent. Abruptly the wince stopped and Book was suspended in midair. Knight stared and motioned for Cero to lower the marine. Cero activated the wince and the marine began to worry. His chances of survival were slim if any even existed. Which at the time didn't. Knight grabbed the marine's body and brought Book closer to shore. The marine signed, relieved yet that reprieve would end soon enough.

"Young Book, I believe that is your call sign. I need information and your friend Appt gave his side. Now yours will be sung. Either you sing like a canary or Mr. Cero lowers you into the maelstrom ocean. You have three minutes to think about it and I suggest the first option." Knight hissed at the dangling marine. Two minutes later a trooper entered the improvised office. Knight followed the trooper and grimaced at the sight of Book unbound on the metal grates. Book had shook himself clean and entered the office, Knight followed him in and sat down at the desk. The two soldiers began to converse.

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Stromwind

"Launch Hawk 4 and submerge." Commander Okaly ordered.

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Marine Convoy

The hovercraft's engine sputtered and Trent, followed by Kirsty landed on the arctic surface.

"Sorry Butcher, Mr. Book was taken by those big meanies." Kirsty said as she started to sniffle.

"Don't worry Kirsty, Book is a survivor. And I know Knight will want every ace he can. After all everything I know, he taught me. The void are cowards, their central strategy is seize, secure, escape. And they always have a plan B, expect a disaster when it activates." He responded with a confident grin.

Chapter 15 "Power, Deceit, and Revelations" Part 1 <p class="MsoNormal" style="margin: 0in 0in 10pt; line-height: normal; text-indent: 0.5in;"> Tactical climbed into Eagle 1 followed by Command. Trent and Kirsty boarded Delta 5. Hovercraft Cetha had left at towards the end and was on its way to Merge Station, all but Kirsty had left on Cetha to stay out of the action. <p class="MsoNormal" style="margin: 0in 0in 10pt; line-height: normal; text-indent: 0.5in;"> "Follow the bouncing ball, marines. Eagle 1 will lift then Delta 5 will follow in close formation as so not to trip early alert sensors." Tactical ordered. The two craft lifted and Operation Eagle began. <p class="MsoNormal" style="margin: 0in 0in 10pt; line-height: normal;"> _______________________________________________________________________________________________ <p class="MsoNormal" style="margin: 0in 0in 10pt; line-height: normal;"> Vergo Station <p class="MsoNormal" style="margin: 0in 0in 10pt; line-height: normal;">                 "So that is all you know?" Knight pondered. <p class="MsoNormal" style="margin: 0in 0in 10pt; line-height: normal;">                 "Everything, now hold your bargain and let me smash Appt. Remember, I just want to join the winning side and win." Book said. <p class="MsoNormal" style="margin: 0in 0in 10pt; line-height: normal;">                 "That reminds me, you need a new call sign. How about Switchblade?" Knight said. <p class="MsoNormal" style="margin: 0in 0in 10pt; line-height: normal;">                 "Hm Switchblade, the double bladed knife, and can harm owner and offender. I'll take it." Switchblade, formerly Book accepted. <p class="MsoNormal" style="margin: 0in 0in 10pt; line-height: normal;"> _______________________________________________________________________________________________ <p class="MsoNormal" style="margin: 0in 0in 10pt; line-height: normal;"> Vergo Station, Inside NF perimeter <p class="MsoNormal" style="margin: 0in 0in 10pt; line-height: normal;">                 Trent landed with a crunch on the ice. Kirsty dropped into his ample arms and he gently placed her on the ground. Eagle 1 sputtered and its engine died. The occupants dropped with a crunch and two shots rang out, the entrance slab fell inward crushing one of Knights SAF troopers. <p class="MsoNormal" style="margin: 0in 0in 10pt; line-height: normal;"> _______________________________________________________________________________________________ <p class="MsoNormal" style="margin: 0in 0in 10pt; line-height: normal;"> Interlude <p class="MsoNormal" style="margin: 0in 0in 10pt; line-height: normal;"> "How will we get into Vergo Tactical, we don't have a secret weapon to burst down an iron slab?" Shaw asked. <p class="MsoNormal" style="margin: 0in 0in 10pt; line-height: normal;"> "My Desert Hawk can handle steel; I can blow down the slab." A confident Tactical replied. <p class="MsoNormal" style="margin: 0in 0in 10pt; line-height: normal;">  _______________________________________________________________________________________________ <p class="MsoNormal" style="margin: 0in 0in 10pt; line-height: normal;">   Vergo Station, Inside NF perimeter <p class="MsoNormal" style="margin: 0in 0in 10pt; line-height: normal; text-indent: 0.5in;"> Trent fired his laser MP8 and mowed down an approaching squad of enemy troopers. A laser ricocheted and impacted on Knights Door, punching a neat pin hole in the oak door. Knight left the ergonomic leather chair and opened the oak door. The instant he opened it a barrage of steel shattered into the revealed ice wall. The next instant he forced the oak shut and dove to the side. The oak shuddered and imploded shattering wooden splinters throughout the relatively small space. His G35 dropped like a stone and the impact jolted the carbine, the rifle roared with its unique fury blazing a truth to his reputation as the "Knight of Death". <p class="MsoNormal" style="margin: 0in 0in 10pt; line-height: normal;"> _______________________________________________________________________________________________ <p class="MsoNormal" style="margin: 0in 0in 10pt; line-height: normal;"> Interlude <p class="MsoNormal" style="margin: 0in 0in 10pt; line-height: normal;"> "Trent, if you can provide suppression fire Command and I can advance into Vergo smashing any enemy troops until we reach a beachhead, then you and Shaw come in to provide additional reinforcements. Meanwhile Kirsty take this putty and make the hovercraft pretty remember to spread it everywhere and don't forget to make a lot of pretty designs." Tactical said as he handed Kirsty the remaining plastic explosive while pocketing the detonator. <p class="MsoNormal" style="margin: 0in 0in 10pt; line-height: normal;"> Chapter 15 "Power, Deceit, and Revelations" Part 2 <p class="MsoNormal" style="margin: 0in 0in 10pt; line-height: normal;"> Vergo Station <p class="MsoNormal" style="margin: 0in 0in 10pt; line-height: normal;">                 Knight reached over and grabbed the carbine. He stood up and peered out the door frame. Charlie Squad headed towards the entrance hall and Sergeant "Demon" Cero dropped. His 2nd-in-command Private "Gambler" Johnson followed suit as Master Sergeant "Brawler" Thompson dove to the side. All three remaining SAF commandos were blown back by the sheer weight of the steel wall impacting them. The unfortunate souls landed in the pool and smashed. <p class="MsoNormal" style="margin: 0in 0in 10pt; line-height: normal;"> _______________________________________________________________________________________________ <p class="MsoNormal" style="margin: 0in 0in 10pt; line-height: normal;"> Interlude <p class="MsoNormal" style="margin: 0in 0in 10pt; line-height: normal;"> "When we assault the station and form a beachhead, the enemy troops will attempt to repulse us, just let rip and watch the massacre.

Vergo Station <p class="MsoNormal" style="margin: 0in 0in 10pt; line-height: normal;">                 "Nice day to go to work right Gambler?" Demon said as fragments of shattered ice crystals blasted past him. <p class="MsoNormal" style="margin: 0in 0in 10pt; line-height: normal;">                 "Yeah, makes you would how exciting a desk job would be." Gambler retorted as his G35D responded to the squeezes of the trigger. <p class="MsoNormal" style="margin: 0in 0in 10pt; line-height: normal;">                 "Been there, done that. It actually got exciting a lot, lots of shoot outs and well paying too. But this gig pays better." Brawler said as he executed the well-practiced motion of trigger pull. His MP12 roared with every motion and left awful ugly dents where the bullets flattened on the ice. <p class="MsoNormal" style="margin: 0in 0in 10pt; line-height: normal;"> _______________________________________________________________________________________________ <p class="MsoNormal" style="margin: 0in 0in 10pt; line-height: normal;"> Vergo Station <p class="MsoNormal" style="margin: 0in 0in 10pt; line-height: normal;">                 A bullet flattened on the ice next to Tactical and the horrific sound rang through the subzero air. Command fired a burst from his MP8 and ducked behind the wall narrowly avoiding the speeding bullets intended for him. Trent's laser MP8 beeped and instantly the super machinegun died wailing the well-known and deceptive siren. The machine pistol was useless and he still had one tool left, one that would lead to ultimate victory. <p class="MsoNormal" style="margin: 0in 0in 10pt; line-height: normal;"> _______________________________________________________________________________________________ <p class="MsoNormal" style="margin: 0in 0in 10pt; line-height: normal;"> Beyond NF perimeter <p class="MsoNormal" style="margin: 0in 0in 10pt; line-height: normal;">                 "Captain Wright, orders came through the field HQ, you and your men are to shoot anything going in or out of that research station. Are you clear on your orders?" Sergeant Trap asked. The captain replied and watched the radar screen. No less than five minutes later a slight blip appeared on the screen. The AA missile launcher locked on and fired a single GTA missile. The missiles propellant ignited and the blip shattered into a couple hundred shattered fragments. <p class="MsoNormal" style="margin: 0in 0in 10pt; line-height: normal;"> _______________________________________________________________________________________________ <p class="MsoNormal" style="margin: 0in 0in 10pt; line-height: normal;"> Interlude <p class="MsoNormal" style="margin: 0in 0in 10pt; line-height: normal;"> "A gator gunship is on its way to this position and is well aware of us. Let it come into AA missile range and let them use their arsenal to finish the ARA gunship." Ordered Tactical. <p class="MsoNormal" style="margin: 0in 0in 10pt; line-height: normal;"> Chapter 15 "Power, Deceit, and Revelations" Part 3 <p class="MsoNormal" style="margin: 0in 0in 10pt; line-height: normal;"> _______________________________________________________________________________________________ <p class="MsoNormal" style="margin: 0in 0in 10pt; line-height: normal;"> Interlude <p class="MsoNormal" style="margin: 0in 0in 10pt; line-height: normal; text-indent: 0.5in;"> "Kirsty after the void hovervessels have been made pretty, follow Shaw into Vergo and wait behind him, he will cover you. And beware of Knight as you surely overheard Knight is merciless and I will repeat will seize you as a hostage. If you are seized bite into his hand and twist away from him. You heard the gunfire in the pursuit. Knights carbine sounds almost the same with a higher pitched resound." Tactical finished <p class="MsoNormal" style="margin: 0in 0in 10pt; line-height: normal;"> _______________________________________________________________________________________________ <p class="MsoNormal" style="margin: 0in 0in 10pt; line-height: normal;"> Stromwind <p class="MsoNormal" style="margin: 0in 0in 10pt; line-height: normal;">                 "Sir the timeframe for our troops to report in has passed. Orders dictate a tactical nuclear strike on Vergo Station if the troops failed to report in." Stromwind's Second Command reported to Commander Okaly. Okaly had paced for the better part of thirty minutes and finally concluded his only viable option with a wince on his face as he issued the fateful command. <p class="MsoNormal" style="margin: 0in 0in 10pt; line-height: normal;">                 "Launch tactical missile one and two twenty second intervals between launches." Okaly issued the fateful order with an uncharacteristic sign of defeat. Stromwind shuddered under the booster rockets on tactical missile one and two igniting in the launch tubes. <p class="MsoNormal" style="margin: 0in 0in 10pt; line-height: normal;">                 "Submerge to forty thousand feet and don't empty the ballast tanks. I have launched two nuclear warheads at an unsuspecting civilian Crux Station protected under the NF Security Zone." Commander Okaly ordered the final action of the ARA submarine Stromwind in the Battle of Vergo Station, Crux Prime. <p class="MsoNormal" style="margin: 0in 0in 10pt; line-height: normal;"> _______________________________________________________________________________________________ <p class="MsoNormal" style="margin: 0in 0in 10pt; line-height: normal;"> Interlude <p class="MsoNormal" style="margin: 0in 0in 10pt; line-height: normal;">                 Earlier Book and I heard some radio chatter between an ARA Commando Unit 2 and ARA submarine "Stromwind". As far as Book could tell me it was a timeframe during which the ARA commandos we faced earlier were to report in regularly every hour. The timeframe was at best, guess a four hour frame and we have thirty minutes until we get nuked. <p class="MsoNormal" style="margin: 0in 0in 10pt; line-height: normal;"> Chapter 15 "Power, Deceit, and Revelations" Part 4 <p class="MsoNormal" style="margin: 0in 0in 10pt; line-height: normal;"> Interlude Cont. <p class="MsoNormal" style="margin: 0in 0in 10pt; line-height: normal;">                 "So we just storm Vergo and get into our diving gear?" Shaw asked. <p class="MsoNormal" style="margin: 0in 0in 10pt; line-height: normal;">                 "Exactly Shaw, just follow my plan and you don't have to worry about anything. Except surviving the initial incursion, but that is to be expected." Tactical said with no particular motion. Shaw just walked into Delta 5 with a sign of defeat. <p class="MsoNormal" style="margin: 0in 0in 10pt; line-height: normal;"> _______________________________________________________________________________________________ <p class="MsoNormal" style="margin: 0in 0in 10pt; line-height: normal;"> Vergo Station <p class="MsoNormal" style="margin: 0in 0in 10pt; line-height: normal;">                 "These recons don't give up." Gambler grumbled under his breath as he continued to fire the carbine despite the increased advance of the marines.  Brawler had long since disappeared and reappeared with a backup squad, while Demon launched a firm torrent of steel flattening on the ice.  Steel continued to rain in vain towards the lone defensive position Gambler held.  Demon's M154 continued to spray steel bullets down the entrance tunnel, turning the long frozen ice into slush under the intense wave of solid steel the recons put through despite their hopeless situation. <p class="MsoNormal" style="margin: 0in 0in 10pt; line-height: normal;"> Vergo Station <p class="MsoNormal" style="margin: 0in 0in 10pt; line-height: normal;">                 "Give me the Nitrogen Charge Trent, and provide some cover fire for me, just for a second." Tactical said as Trent tossed him the charge and received the MP8 discarded by Tactical; who had already activated the maghook's magnetic head with the side effect of dragging the titanium charge up to the warhead.  He fired and the maghook sped through the arctic air and sliced through the frostbitten soldier's view with a blur.  The next five seconds changed the whole battle cataclysmically.  A wave of super-cooled nitrogen swept through Vergo Station, super-freezing everything instantly and cracks spread through all affected by the wave.  A disastrous sound broke the unforgiving silence as VOID troopers smashed and LED lighting shattered, landing in piles of razor-thin glass shards on the metal decks. <p class="MsoNormal" style="margin: 0in 0in 10pt; line-height: normal;"> _______________________________________________________________________________________________ <p class="MsoNormal" style="margin: 0in 0in 10pt; line-height: normal;">  Vergo Station <p class="MsoNormal" style="margin: 0in 0in 10pt; line-height: normal;">                 "Demon, report.  Switchblade, call in." Knight called over the radio desperately as he opened the remains of the office door.  Eerie silence followed as he navigated through the circular research station.   Tactical stepped out of the fog and fired a burst near the wall to illuminate the fogged up zone.  Knight franticly dove away and found himself in front of Kirsty, who stared and asked who he was.  Promptly Knight grabbed her and she bit in, twisted and escaped.  He ran after her but Command stepped into view forcing the now powerless Knight to keep moving left.  Tactical kicked him to the floor and pulled out the spare pistol, his Desert Hawk been given to Shaw.  The 1911 fired once and Knight tried to get up, however another 50 cal. Round hit him in the side and he finally collapsed on a liquid nitrogen puddle, smashing. <p class="MsoNormal" style="margin: 0in 0in 10pt; line-height: normal;"> _______________________________________________________________________________________________ <p class="MsoNormal" style="margin: 0in 0in 10pt; line-height: normal;"> Vergo Station <p class="MsoNormal" style="margin: 0in 0in 10pt; line-height: normal;">                 "Get up, Appt.  Your time has come." Switchblade ordered as he walked up to the chained Appt.  His radio buzzed but Switchblade in his obsession to smash Appt ignored the desperate call from Knight. <p class="MsoNormal" style="margin: 0in 0in 10pt; line-height: normal;"> Chapter 15 "Power, Deceit, and Revelations" Part 5 <p class="MsoNormal" style="margin: 0in 0in 10pt; line-height: normal;"> Vergo Station <p class="MsoNormal" style="margin: 0in 0in 10pt; line-height: normal;">                 The door shattered as Switchblade evaded the incoming steel rounds.  His MP8 roared as he twisted around to face the fire of his enemy.  Tactical rushed in and grabbed the machine pistol and threw it into the ice coated wall.  Switchblades fist was already in motion as the MP8 flew from his grasp.  Tactical stumbled back in agony as he recovered from Switchblades punch.  Switchblades next punch was caught and he got thrown to the ground.  A quick kick to the legs brought down Tactical as he struggled to land a response on his opponent. <p class="MsoNormal" style="margin: 0in 0in 10pt; line-height: normal;">                 "So the Sergeant returns from the dead." Switchblade sneered as he caught Tactical's punch and twisted him to the floor. <p class="MsoNormal" style="margin: 0in 0in 10pt; line-height: normal;">                 "And Book returned as a shadow of his former self." Tactical returned as he tackled Switchblade to the steel plates.  Tactical promptly got up and threw Switchblade into the opposite plates.  A chain flew from the fog as Schofield stepped closer to the fallen form of Switchblade, sending Tactical crashing into the plates. <p class="MsoNormal" style="margin: 0in 0in 10pt; line-height: normal;">                 "As always, you fight honorably." Switchblade finished.  He flew to the plates as the chain dragged him from a standing position to a fallen one.  Tactical's 1911 dropped from its holster and Switchblade grabbed the pistol firing three quick shots into Schofield's direction, forcing him to take evasive maneuvers to avoid the rounds.  Schofield crashed into Switchblade and thrust the pistol from his grasp, sending the 1911 into the plates with a resound.  Tactical lifted Switchblade and threw him into the doorway, sending him sliding into the open area inside Vergo.  Tactical landed next to Switchblade and finally defeated him, smashing his former mentor. <p class="MsoNormal" style="margin: 0in 0in 10pt; line-height: normal;"> _______________________________________________________________________________________________ <p class="MsoNormal" style="margin: 0in 0in 10pt; line-height: normal;"> Vergo Station <p class="MsoNormal" style="margin: 0in 0in 10pt; line-height: normal;">                 "Where is Appt?" Schofield asked the assembled team.  They paled as he crashed onto the ground under Appt's weight.  The heavy weight boxer emerged from the snipers form as Tactical flew across the pool narrowly avoiding the Maelstrom Ocean.  Command and Trent fired at the hulking form of Appt, trying in vain to defeat the beast.  Appt walked on the metal floor that edged the pool and it began crumbling under his weight.  He finally began to feel the steel rounds impacting him, throwing a stray burnt piece of catwalk at the clustered marines and civilians.  Kirsty ran and tripped over a fallen void trooper's RPG.  She lifted the rocket launcher and held the first trigger, waiting for the assurance of the targeting lock before she pulled the second trigger.  The rocket flew at Appt and crashed into him, sending his body flying into the wall plates before the warhead exploded smashing Appt. <p class="MsoNormal" style="margin: 0in 0in 10pt; line-height: normal;"> _______________________________________________________________________________________________ <p class="MsoNormal" style="margin: 0in 0in 10pt; line-height: normal;"> Underwater Cavern <p class="MsoNormal" style="margin: 0in 0in 10pt; line-height: normal;">                 The diving bell stopped and the airlock opened releasing the marines with their charges.  They came up in the cavern and traveled to the spaceship.  They meet up with the other group and began to search for an entrance of some sort.  Kirsty was the first and saw the keypad, promptly she called the others over. <p class="MsoNormal" style="margin: 0in 0in 10pt; line-height: normal;">                 I know this.  It's a symbolistic pattern." She declared. <p class="MsoNormal" style="margin: 0in 0in 10pt; line-height: normal;">                 "How do you know that Kirsty?" Magma asked. <p class="MsoNormal" style="margin: 0in 0in 10pt; line-height: normal;">                 "I learned it from mom." She explained to Magma. <p class="MsoNormal" style="margin: 0in 0in 10pt; line-height: normal;">                 "Just open the door sweetie.  We have at best five minutes." Sarah urged her daughter. <p class="MsoNormal" style="margin: 0in 0in 10pt; line-height: normal;">                 "Ok mom." Kirsty said as she input the answer to the door.  It opened and the group entered. <p class="MsoNormal" style="margin: 0in 0in 10pt; line-height: normal; text-indent: 0.5in;"> "We want to show you something." Sarah said as Machima and herself and turned around, revealing the MP12s.  Tactical and Command flattened on the ground, Kitten removed one of her axes throwing it at the NFICG soldiers.  <p class="MsoNormal" style="margin: 0in 0in 10pt; line-height: normal; text-indent: 0.5in;"> "We just want to smash you to remove you officially, the Joint Chiefs have you listed as dead and logically the NFICG can't have you wandering around when you are supposedly dead." Machima finished as he pounded the structures with the 11mm rounds. Kitten's axe flew around the pair and slashed back towards the traitors, smashing Machima while allowing Sarah to catch the axe in midair.  She returned the blade, cracking the frozen metal structure Kitten and Shaw were hiding behind in half.  Kitten threw the second axe and caught Sarah in the chest as she turned to smash Schofield.  The group continued along discovering black projects, UFOs and finally the "Black Shift".  The group entered and got in the cramped cockpit. <p class="MsoNormal" style="margin: 0in 0in 10pt; line-height: normal;">                 "You used to be a pilot Butcher.  You should be able to fly this out of here.  It says from the blueprints that it has retro rockets, jet engines, and hovertech." Kitten said. <p class="MsoNormal" style="margin: 0in 0in 10pt; line-height: normal;"> _______________________________________________________________________________________________ <p class="MsoNormal" style="margin: 0in 0in 10pt; line-height: normal;"> NF Perimeter <p class="MsoNormal" style="margin: 0in 0in 10pt; line-height: normal;">                 The NF soldiers watched the HEALs storm Vergo Station from afar as the nuclear missile crashed into Vergo, exploding and destroying the station and perimeter forces. <p class="MsoNormal" style="margin: 0in 0in 10pt; line-height: normal;"> _______________________________________________________________________________________________ <p class="MsoNormal" style="margin: 0in 0in 10pt; line-height: normal;"> Underground Facility <p class="MsoNormal" style="margin: 0in 0in 10pt; line-height: normal;">                 "The nuke should have exploded by now.  The coast should split and open the mouth of the facility." Schofield said as he ignited the engines and the Black Shift ground ahead.  The opening appeared and Tactical gunned the engines, rocketing out of the concussive wave formed of the nuclear blast.  They flew until the found the Hornet and were allowed to land.  <p class="MsoNormal" style="margin: 0in 0in 10pt; line-height: normal; text-indent: 0.5in;"> The next day the newspapers headline said, "Military branches cleaning out NFICG traitors after international conflict in Crux Prime."  By now Glitter Magma and Butcher Schofield were eating dinner in the best restaurant they could find in Nexus City with the reporters asking questions about the incident.

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