Part 4: A new face and a new gun.
Well it's only the next level but I haven't been well recently. Will you forgive me?
I took my new friends shopping. Hell, they hadn't seen so much money for a while. We'd made nearly seven grand off one mission alone. By the time we'd finished the dealer looked like he was about to close shop and run off to Mauritius.
Natalie wanted an all-rounder. She got a spray-and-pray MG boat.
JJ got his brutish hitting machine. The Golem.
Keith took one of everything, he's cocky like that. And the integrated gun can absorb small arms fire well.
I loaded up with explosives. A grenade launcher, two different rockets (a precision anti-subsystem one and a fuckoff Depleted Uranium SABOT) and one of the old LMGs in case I ran out of ammo.
Sakata had had a change of heart. He was now the unit's stone wall. His new wanzer was squat and well-armoured with a couple of medium machine gun turrets for arms. He didn't need missiles.
Some punkish freak in the bar said there'd been a crash. I found it hard to care.
But then Olson said it was a transport with some 1st Army materials in it. And we could keep anything we found.
I was back in full swing. Killing things, saving the day. And getting closer to Karen's killer.
Then we heard something interesting on the radio.
Keith got the first visual.
Natalie, late to the party as always. I'd been following that patrol on my screen for ten minutes before she noticed them.
JJ noticed the stranger wasn't an enemy. But a civilian poking around a military area is never good.
The poor girl, incapable of making decisions. I'd assumed her role as soon as Olson gave me my cheque. I said we should kill the USN and save the civilian.
They'd already made a line for him. And I know too well what it's like to be surrounded.
The Golem hit that fucker hard.
But we were too late to get to the crates. All we had to do now was stop them getting the loot home.
This piqued my interest, most certainly.
While we held the USN off, there was plenty of time for the USN officer to take a potshot at our friend.
I already had two rockets in the air before those experimental missiles began their final trajectory. Tactical cruise missiles were an interesting proposition indeed.
But the amount of explosives they carried was terrifying. JJ's ablative armour was nearly shattered.
Keith hotwired his tactical computer to give him an emergency recovery system, seeing as the USN were nearly becoming competent.
With the USN forces destroyed, we got to meet our new friend. Frederick, a journalist for the Co-Operative Political Review. Nice enough fellow, if a little arrogant. And bloody stupid.
His empassioned appeal to follow me fell on deaf ears. But another body to put between me and the enemy always seemed like a good idea.
And he agreed.
The mission was over, and we had all made it home with a new rocket launcher and a new friend. Sakata had needed to bail out, his armour wasn't quite up to being pummeled from three sides. But at least he fought rather than running scared.
Drinks were on the house tonight. Everyone loves a hero.