1.69 - The Pound Dogs

1.69 - The Pound Dogs

Butterflies in my stomach let me know I’m, still alive. I remember a lot of people would talk about how after a few missions they wouldn’t get nervous. I never pressed them to see if they were lying or telling the truth. If you’re not nervous before a mission, then you’ve given up your reason to live. Every mission, operation or confrontation can be the last. It’s a good reason to be nervous. Tonight, I might be more nervous than ever before, because Edan is with me. I only had to worry about myself and my team before. I cared about my team, and on some level, I even care about myself. More than either of those, I care about Edan. He’s a smuggler, transporter or whatever he calls himself; he gets into plenty of scraps. I shouldn't be worried about him, but that’s my baby brother no matter how old he is.

“Hey,” Edan’s voice comes in clear of the communication system in the chameleon armor.

“Sounds good on my end,” I respond as I approach my target and enter stealth mode.

“Suit just vanished off my radar and out of sight, you’re good to move in,” Enylo chimes in.

“Big bro,” Edan snickers.

“Is now the time for jokes,” I ask in the way only an angry sibling can.

“It’s not a joke, I just wanted to tell you I lied earlier. I do have butterflies, I’m always nervous around you. Not the type of nerves when a pretty girl is around, but I always want to look as cool as you do,” he laughs in my ear.

“You look pretty cool when you do all your martial arts pirating,” I let out a quiet laugh before the mission really starts.

“Focus boys,” Enyolo cuts in on the coms. For a moment it seems like she’s trying to stop herself from laughing.

My job is easy, I just hang around the doorway, unseen and unheard until someone comes along and puts in a code to open the door. I actually feel bad for whoever does it. PIN codes are low tech, but you can tell exactly who did it if you assign different codes. They could have gone with something like a fingerprint or face scan, maybe even saliva for a DNA sample. That would have made it harder for us to get in but I’m sure Tawa would have been able to get in one way or another.

A Straiv’al approaches the door and glances around, unaware that I’m standing right over his shoulder. The code, 1031; I send it to the team via text. Edan sends back a smiley face modeled after himself giving a thumbs up. A few moments after entering the warehouse another smiley face arrives, this one modeled on Enylo with a pulsating vein in her forehead giving a thumbs up as well. They can’t be serious; Edan is rarely serious but Enylo chooses today to grow a sense of humor. Does she want me to die?

The warehouse is what I expected, Tawa laid out the plans for us pretty well. A small map displays in the lower left corner of my helmet’s heads up display. There’s merchandise here, most of it being packaged up as if it were legitimate but everything is clearly stolen. Broken goods tossed aside, Straiv’al pocketing things they want for themselves. The disturbing thing about that is it means they took off their clothes to attack at the docks. Is it a cultural thing or somehting? I put my questions on hold make my way to the control booth slowly, not fully trusting the camouflage elements of this suit. I’ve used some high-tech stuff before and something always seems to go wrong at the worst possible moment so I try to avoid as many people as possible.  

The control room is just as empty as Tawa said it was be. I plug in the drive he provided and let it go to work. I look out down to the floor below and wait for something, anything to happen. I’m thinking Tawa gave us a dud. I prepare my rifle to do this the hard way. Slowly the lights start to vanish in the building. Everything except the confused voices go silent, the humming sound of electricity vanishes. I look down the scope of my rifle, the targets glowing blue in the darkness, didn’t know they were cold blooded. Slowly Edan and Enyolo make their way deeper into the building after entering from opposite doors.

I fire the first shot, not a sound is heard beyond the thud of a Straiv’al dropping and the shattering of glass as whatever he held hits the floor. I’ve got a great view and I’m able to see through the darkness. The team is smaller than we expected. Just the three of us, Velphi isn’t built for stealth but he’s watching the outside. Edan and Enyolo were the only others willing to go inside and the idea of hiring help was off the table without Nastas. But it’s working, it’s working well. Enyolo is sprinting through the building causing panic. Bones break and screams of pain fill the darkness. Edan silently snatches people behind merchandise and quickly puts them to sleep before dumping the body. Anytime someone gets too close to either I pick them off with the rifle. They’ll live, but they’ll get some great sleep. Tawa’s program was supposed to give us fifteen minutes of darkness, but we didn’t need it. There were less people than we thought.

“I think we got them all,” I call out.

“Don’t rush, we still need to secure the perimeter,” Enyolo shouts back.

“I’ll get the bay doors and call the pickup crews,” Edan ignores her warning.  

I start to zip tie the knocked out Straiv’al; I’ll feel better if they can’t fight back when they wake up. Outside the crews have already arrived and Edan is perfectly directing traffic. It’s actually impressive, almost as impressive as watching him work with tech. I’ve known soldiers who worked logistics for twenty years and couldn’t pull off an operation of this scale at this speed. I’ve never saw an Alpha Draconian before I met Velphi, and I’ve certainly never seen one fly. Velphi circles above us, huge wings expanded further than I ever expected them to, almost as if he were a real dragon gliding through the air, rarely flapping his wings as if the wind was aiding him.

I spot Enyolo off by herself and make my way over, “good job back there,” I smile at her.

“You weren’t so bad yourself, for a military dog,” she smiles.

“Enough that you’d adopt me,” the words leave my mouth before I can ponder on them. Why would I say that?

“Don’t push your luck. I’ve already got a pound puppy to take care of, adding a military dog to that would be a lot,” she rolls her eyes and walks away.

“That’s not a no. We’re littermates, a bonded pair. That means you have to take us both,” I laugh as she walks away shaking her head.

I’m not sure if the adrenaline from a successful mission is just messing with my head, or I really like her. A lot. 

Author's Note: I lied, I messed up the biweekly scheduling, but I'm going to get it right. Have faith in me. I dropped a new YouTube video as well. My channel is pretty cool if you like history.


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