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Old August 5th, 2019, 06:17 PM #41
scikaiju's Avatar
> scikaiju
Power Ranger
 
Joined: Dec 2012
Posts: 405
scikaiju
Power Ranger
scikaiju's Avatar
 
Joined: Dec 2012
Posts: 405



Special Police DekaOps
37


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OP – Alter Bridge – Metalingus
-----


Michelle received the signal of an unscheduled ship coming in system like the new protocol demanded. A split second later they received an encoded transmission, Commander eyes only. So she promptly transferred it to Major Pierce. A few minutes later he came barging out of his office saying that the team had to get to the orbital station immediately, including the two of them. Several more minutes later they were piled into one of the special shuttle pods and Ace took them to the station. On the way the Major filled them in on the rush.

Shortly after landing they stood in formation as the hanger crew quickly moved the pod out of the way. “This is a waste of time,” Dan muttered.

“Dan,” the Major warned, “remember to play nice.”

“Oh I’ll fake being nice no problem,” he shot back. “But all of this for a gold badge?”

“We’re just being courteous,” he answered. “Just be glad this one didn’t decide to drop in unannounced.”

“I’ve heard stories about the Tokukyou,” Target spoke up. “Are they as bad as they say?”

“We’ve only met a couple,” Ace said.

“And I have met one myself,” Rev added. “They did have an air of confidence around them.”

“What he means,” Dan cut in, “is that they’re all a bunch of arrogant pricks.”

“Dan what did I just say?”, the Major sighed.

“That was me being nice,” he informed him. “Do you want to hear what I really think of them? Because I’m more than willing to share. Besides Goldy isn’t even here yet.”

“Quiet,” Michelle told him, “here comes the ship.” They stood at attention as the ship came closer. The hanger crew quickly did the same. In moments a single person white and black craft passed through the hanger’s force field.

It landed in front of them. A few seconds later the side hatch hissed and opened. Dan and the others were startled to see who came out wearing a Tokukyou uniform. The BlayThrottle on her wrist was altered a bit as the handle was in the middle instead of the side. Her white hair was pulled back in a ponytail but the light blue of her skin and emerald eyes were still the same. Those eyes seemed to twinkle a bit as she smiled at them, “Greeting my friends. It has been far too long a time.”

“Drilian?”, Ace said in disbelief. “You are the last person we expected.”

“Quite,” Rev agreed, “in our last encounter you said your duty was to your King.”

“And that statement is still true,” she answered. “A Commander from SPD personally traveled to my planet and requested my services. With the permission of my King I accompanied him back to SPD headquarters. Apparently word of my quest to retrieve my King’s armor had traveled far and wide. Reports of my tenacity and skill impressed those who are above me from my understanding.”

“Glad to have you aboard,” Ace told her.

“Your message sounded important,” the Major spoke up.

“That is correct,” Drilian reached into a pocket on her uniform and retrieved a datadisc. “Command had received word of something coming through your planetary system that may require the skills you recently obtained.”

“We’ll show you the way to the command deck,” Pierce told her.

As they followed Target asked, “Was the Tokukyou training hard?

“I feared that it would be,” she answered. “Going from a Knight to a Deka seemed a taunting task. Fortunately my skills as a Fourth Level Knight allowed me to complete the training rather quickly. As I had studied intergalactic law during my quest in fear of accidently breaking them in search of my King’s armor, I was pleased at how fast I was able to conquer the program.”

From the rear of the group Dan mumbled, “She picked up some of the arrogance too.” Besides him Michelle elbowed him the ribs and hushed him.

***
Inserting the datadisc into a station Michelle quickly accessed it. Above the table they were standing around a holographic image with a red tint appeared that quickly took the form of an old space cruiser with two external engines in the back. The image started rotating when the Major asked, “So what are we looking at Drilian?”

“That is part of the dilemma,” she answered. “This craft has no markings, no identity beacon and has answered no hails that I am currently aware of.”

“So it’s a derelict?”, Boomer asked.

She shook her head, “That is what my superior thought as well. However the craft has a tendency to alter its course to evade oncoming patrol ships.”

“So it has a pilot,” Dan mused.

“Or a working AI,” Ace added. “Who knows how long that that ship has been going.”

“True,” Drilian agreed. “The erratic behavior is what first drew our attention to this vessel. It quickly rose on the list of priorities when a ship was able to get close enough to pick up a dark matter reading. That reading is on the disc as well”

“I got it,” Michelle said as she pulled the information up. The read out appeared on the screens on the table.

Target studied the data as she leaned against the table. She looked over at Boomer who nodded, seeing the same thing. “I recognize this wave length on the dark matter. Some species have been using it in warheads in missiles. The effect similar to an matter-anti matter explosion if it’s configured right.” Looking up at the others she said, “It’s a pretty recent development too.”

“How recent?”, Dan asked.

“Roughly two years,” she answered.

“I think that might throw out the AI theory,” Ace commented.

Looking over at Drilian Rev asked, “If the ship is carrying weapon grade dark matter why has it not been stopped by now?”

“Because the ship is using star gates so old records of them have been lost for decades if not centuries,” she replied.

“They weren’t totally lost,” Dan said.

“That would be correct Captain,” she told him. “Archivist have been working well past they’re scheduled shifts trying to find them. Those we do know about have had probes sent into them to locate their exit.”

Dan started looking worried, “Combine that knowledge with the usual smugglers tricks and that ship could be off the grid for days before showing up again.”

“Your words ring true Captain,” Drillian told him. “Fortunately researchers have discovered one of the ancient gates in your planetary system, past the planet you call Neptune. And the latest reports indicate that the ship might be heading this way.”

“Drilian, is the location of the gate on the disc?”, Michelle asked. She said it was. In moments the ship was replaced by a map of the solar system. A blinking light past Neptune’s orbit indicated the gate’s location. After a moment Michelle pulled up the location of the nearest star gate on the image, represented by a blinking light just past Saturn. “Using the old gate the ship can jump in without being noticed. Then he can jump from this one before anybody can stop him.”

“That is the craft’s usual pattern,” Drilian said. “Some of the star gate specialist theorizes that the ship can also access the newer gates from the older ones.”

“So nobody knows where he’s jumping from,” Dan said thinking that over. “Do you have any idea when it’s going to get here?”

“I am afraid I do not, part of the reason why asked you to gather here so quickly is because I do not know. It may have entered you system already.”

“Then speed is of the essence,” The Major said. “The only real concern is the ship detecting us as soon as we get there. Ace, does the Tiger have a cloaking system?”

“Not built in,” she answered. “And the Mark V star drive is interfering with the tech we have on the Shepard. Neither team can figure out why yet. But the guys up here came up with a sensor mask. It’s not a cloak but it should hide us from his sensors long enough to get on board.”

“It’ll have to do,” the Major said. “All right team, move out.”

The field team and Drilian all said, “Rodger!”, before running out.

***
They were able to seat Drilian in the back of the Tiger as it left the hanger. Ace pushed the engines as she headed for the SPD emergency gate between Earth and Mars and calculated a quick jump from it to the Saturn gate. From there she pushed them a little harder to cut the time to the ancient gate. “What I wouldn’t give for a little in system jump ability right about now,” she muttered as she kept an eye on the engine readings.

Drilian floated foreword to the main cabin. Target caught her when she missed the handle by the door. “I got you.”

“My thanks my friend,” she said gratefully as she got a grip on the console. “I am afraid my space training was cut short when I was given this assignment.”

“It takes awhile to get you space legs,” Boomer told her.

“Some longer than others,” Rev commented as his antenna started to droop.

“But you got there,” Boomer reminded him.

“Drilian did that ship have any offensive or defensive weapons?”, Ace asked. “That report of yours didn’t say.”

“None involved in any encounters have said,” she replied. “Those that have fired on the craft reported that the hull was more resistant to damage than usual.”

“An extra think hull,” Target mused. “Makes sense considering the cargo. Ace the cutters might have a hard time getting through, if at all.”

“We’ll get through,” she said. “That’s one of the test I make the station crew run when I’m there. I’ll stake my reputation on it.”

“That is not something to state lightly,” Drilian said in total shock.

Ace smirked, “You don’t know my team.”

Boomer added, “You don’t know what she’ll do to them if they make a liar out of her.”

Ace shot a look toward Dan who put a hand up to keep her in place. Looking back at Boomer he said, “That was your freebie for the day. Next time I let her take off the kid gloves.”

“Oh please say something else,” Ace muttered. Boomer promptly shut up and turned his attention back to his station. Drilian still looked confused at the exchange.

Seeing this Rev told her, “You get used to it.”

“It is a tad unsettling to see a team I have worked with before behave in such a manner,” she said.

“This is normal behavior for them,” he explained, “but when the mission starts in earnest they will perform like you saw before.” She took that in and nodded. But she did notice that Dan shot each of the others a look that they acknowledge with a nod. From that point on they acted like the team she witnessed before.

For the next hour and a half small talk was kept to a minimum as they studied their sensors for any sign of the craft. The closer they got to the old gate the more Dan got a sinking feeling in his gut. “Is there any kind of ion trail out there?”, he asked after a bit.

“Not since we left the gate,” Target replied. “It’s practically fresh space out here. Any sort of trail wouldn’t be that hard to spot.”

“Maybe we beat them here,” Boomer offered.

“Or they didn’t come this way at all,” Dan said looking out the front window at a bunch of dark nothing.

“That is a rather pessimistic point of view Captain,” Drilian commented.

“Just keeping the options open until we have something concrete,” he said. “I know from personal experience intelligence can be wrong from time to time.”

“And what do you do in those situations?”

“Depends on how off the intel was. Sometimes I had to make up a plan B on the fly.” None of them saw her nod her head by only the tiniest of margins. Before she could ask anything else alarms started to go off around them.

“We got a gate opening right in front of us!” Target announced.

“Performing evasive,” Ace said a split second later. The Machine tiger rolled out of the way as the portion in space right in front of them started to swirl like a whirlpool. The effect lasted long enough for a large craft to come through. Ace quickly turned the Tiger around to pursue. “Nobody said the gate was that close!”

“My apologies,” Drilian told her. “I was only supplied with the information they gave me.”

“Like I said,” Dan told her. “Ace find a place to park this bird.”

“I’m pulling up the schematics from the datadisc now,” Ace said.

“What about their sensors?”

“I activated the sensor mask as soon we got the alarm. The ship’s not trying to run, it looks like it’s working.”

“We’ll find out for sure in a few moments. Ace do your thing, Drilian you might want to strap in case things get rough.”

“At once Captain,” she quickly headed for the back as Ace flew the Tiger closer to the craft. Catching up with the ship Ace slowed down enough to match its speed she waited until a scan was performed to find a hallway or a large room that matched the schematics they had so they could board. Finding it Ace got closer and let the magnetic clamps do the rest and grab hold and seal the bottom of the Tiger to the hull. “We’re ready to go,” she announced.

“Get ready to board,” Dan ordered. All of them unstrapped themselves and headed for the middle of the ship and turned sideways to face the entry door.

“Activating gravity field,” Target said.

“Activating cutters,” Ace announced as soon as she entered. She watched the screen intently, it took a few extra moments but she got the green light, “We’re through.”

“Ship atmosphere is breathable,” Rev said after a few moments.

“Blow it,” Dan ordered, a brief muffled explosion and metallic clang preceded the entry hatch opening. Alien air hit them almost immediately, but as Rev said they could breathe it. “You cut it a little close there Ace,” he commented as he walked in and noticed how close the entry point was to a back wall.

“At least we’re in,” she shrugged. Dan nodded and waited until everybody was out and the Tiger secured.

“Stay together as much as possible,” he ordered. “Keep an eye out for some kind of access terminal. If we can get a floor plan before whoever is in charge can notice it’ll make our job easier. And look out for anything suspicious, we do not need to be trapped in here.”

“Rodger,” they responded. Drilian held back for a moment and watched them before following.

***
“Now this ain’t right,” a dingy, scraggily looking anubis-seijin said as he looked at his external scanners. For some reason his ship gained weight suddenly. Then an alarm went off, there was a breach in the hull. His first thought was a meteor hit him, it happened enough. But the reading said it was a much larger than a meteor. In fact the emergency bulkheads should have came on to keep the ship pressurized, yet he wasn’t losing any atmosphere in the ship.

Which lead him to the only other explanation, “I’ve been boarded. I tell ya it’s getting to the point a smuggler can’t to any decent business any more. Hey gasket head!”

An Igadroid covered in various metal plates walked in, “What is it.”

“I think it’s pirates. This far out it can’t be anybody else.”

“I’ll deal with them.”

“Good.” As the Igadroid exited the pilot muttered, “Slag it I thought pirates didn’t steal from their own kind.”

***
They found a terminal soon enough. It took Boomer a few extra minutes to decode the encryption. He muttered something about an, “Original encryption program,” and wishing Micelle was here. He pumped his fist slightly when he finally broke it, “Got it.” Working fast he was able to download a map of the ship before he was locked out. “It’s a different encryption program,” he said looking it over. “It looks totally different.”

“We’ll work with what we have,” Dan said.

Drilian spoke up, “I do not wish to question your authority Captain, but is that action wise to take?”

“Seeing how long it took him to decrypt the first one I think it is,” he explained. “No offence Boomer.”

“Non taken Cap,” he said as transferred the map to the other’s Opslicense. “So what’s the plan?”

Studying the map for a couple of moments Dan said, “We try and take the bridge.”

Eyebrows raised in surprise Drillian went, “A rather daring plan of action. Would it not be wiser to disable the engines?”

“Normally I’d say yes but look here,” he showed her the map. “It looks like the engine room is right below the cargo bay.”

“It looks that way to me too,” Ace agreed.

“And if I was the one piloting this thing I’d fix it so some of that dark matter fell right on top of anybody who tried to tamper with the ship’s engines.”

“And we don’t know how ‘dirty’ those engines are,” Ace told her. “I saw the ion trail readings as we were coming up behind this hunk of junk, it wasn’t anything within the norm.”

“So the bridge it is then,” Drilian concluded. “I am amazed you determined that course of action so quickly. For a moment I thought you were attempting a feat of daring bravado.”

“Huh?”, Boomer asked.

“She thought Cap was going to do something stupid,” Target translated for him.

“Oh,” Boomer said in understanding.

“We’re wasting time,” Dan told them. “The bridge is going to be hard enough to take as it is. Ignore any elevators and take the service ladders. The longer we can hide ourselves the better.” They acknowledged what he said and headed for the nearest ladder. With Dan taking point he used his surveillance gear to make sure the area was clear before signaling everybody else down.

“He does this often?”, Drilian asked Rev while waiting for him to signal.

“It is part of his standard behavior,” he said. “Captain Stevens has two main priorities, the mission and the safety of the rest of us. I thought it was strange at first myself. But it works for him somehow.”

“We all go home or none of us go home,” Ace said repeating one of Dan’s mottos. Drilian absorbed that bit of information as Ace’s License went off, “Ops5 here.”

“A wave of Batsuroids just went past the opening,” Dan said in hushed tones over the link. “I counted at least eight.” There was silence for several moments, “They’re waiting by one of the elevators. I got an idea.”

After listening to his plan they went to work immediately. Boomer hovered in the elevator just long enough to hit the down button and get out of there. “Elevator in use,” one of them Batsuroids said. They positioned themselves for the maximum amount of damage in case the target was hostile. The door opened but nobody was inside. One of them looked down and saw a device on the floor. Before they could react it exploded sending shrapnel in their direction. Dan, Ace and Target took care of any left standing with their SP-Shooters.

“The pirates are hostile,” a voice said over an old intercom. “All forces to section three.”

“We’re pirates now?”, Boomer smirked.

“Aye matey,” Ace joked as they ran down the hallway.

“They knew we were on board,” Rev reminded them.

“That’s why we have to hurry,” Dan said. Before long they came up on a force of Batsuroids and Anaroids lead by a patched up Igadroid. “Change standby. Emergency! DekaOps!”

Each of them was surrounded by a digital field. Dekametal formed around them in a burst of bright light forming a black bodysuit. A colored striped ran down their body from the top of their shoulder to their boots, a number forming on the left side of their chest. “Face on!” Dekametal flowed around their heads forming a helmet.

“Special Police!” The lights on their helmets flashed to life, “DekaOps!”

“Emergency!” Drilian said bringing her BrayThrottle up to her chest and hit the button on the front of it. “DekaKnight!” A gold and blue digital field surrounded her as the Dekametal formed around her. A silver bodysuit with dark blue highlights on her shoulders, , hips and inner legs covered her. A gold roman numeral number 6 appeared on the left side of her chest. “Face on!”, Dekametal formed around her head forming a helmet with a visor with vertical slots. With her feet together, left slightly back, she held her right arm to her chest, two finger extended. “The honorable detective of the skies.” Slashing her arm to the side she exclaimed, “DekaKnight!”

“Stop the intruders,” the Igadroid ordered.

“Take ‘em,” Dan said at the same time. The two forces charged each other. Dan took on the Igadroid head on. Ace and Boomer battered through the bots with their D-Rods. At the same time they activated the Rods’ energy field and sliced through the same one. Rev ran at a group of Anaroids before jumping up and landing feet first on the Batsuroid behind them. Target jumped and flipped out of the way firing her D-Shooter when she had a clean shot.

Drilian pulled down the handle of her Throttle and revved it twice before snapping it back in place. “Lightning justice,” her left hand to crackle with energy. A small energy trail following her movements as she sliced through the Aneroids and Batsuroids unfortunate enough to get in her way. Her movements were almost dance like as she made her way through. At a snap of her fingers they exploded and fell to the ground.

“Glad you’re on our side,” Ace commented while she had a few moments to watch.

Dan was able to force the Igadroid after getting close enough to plunge his D-Knife into its’ shoulder. The bot stumbled back into a control panel. “Time to get spaced,” it said and slammed a fist on the panel. An alarm claxon went off a few moments before the wall next to them started to open.

“Shit,” Dan muttered as the air started to rush out of the opening. He did not see that one coming.

“Nooo!”, Drilian cried out as she couldn’t find anything to hold on to and was sucked out the opening.

Grabbing their OpsLicense they held them over their heads, “EXO Mode!”

Lowering the License in front of them a digital field grid came from the badge and ran up their arm and over their bodies. The field expanded in places as Dekametal filled in the spaces forming black armor plating. Rockets formed at various places on their back, shoulders and waists. A breathing device formed on the lower half of their helmets. A colored number formed on the left side of their chest as they slotted their License on the right.

“Ops5 locked in!”

“Ops4 locked in!”

“Ops3 locked in!”

“Ops2 locked in!”

“Ops1 locked in!”

“I’m after Drilian,” Dan announced before jumping after her.

“Give him a place to land,” Ace ordered as the rest of them took care of the bots and tried to keep the Igadroid from closing the opening again.

Using the helmet’s targeting computer Dan locked in on Drilian tumbling form and had the rockets on his back as high as they could go. “Got you,” he said as he grabbed her around the waist. Flipping around he aimed himself at the ship. “Keep that door open!”, he shouted as he saw the opening getting smaller.

“I’m working on it,” Ace said. “It’s an automatic system I can’t stop it.”

“This is going to be close,” he said through gritted teeth as he read the heads up on his visor. The closer they got the more he positioned himself to protect Drilian if the opening got too small. Then it occurred to him that they wouldn’t be able to make if he tried to slow them enough to stop from crashing into the barge. At the last possible second he cut the rockets on his back and used the smaller shoulder one to turn him around so his back slammed the interior wall. “Ugh,” he grunted from the impact. After a few seconds the opening closed and the hall was repressurized.

“That’s one way to come to a stop,” Ace said as Rev checked on both of them.

“Never mind me,” he said, “check on Drilian.”

“I am… I’m fine,” she finally said. “My armor protected me long enough for you to rescue me. Captain Stevens you have my eternal gratitude.”

“Just doing my job,” he said as they stood up. “What’s the situation Ace?”

“Igadroid got away with a couple of bots,” she told him. “I’m pretty sure they headed for the bridge.”

“Then let’s hurry before they have a chance to fortify their position even more,” Dan said. “Drilian can you go on?”

“I am able to continue the task Captain,” she answered. “I am grateful for your concern for my well being.”

“What did I tell you?”, Ace chimed in. “We all go home or none of do.”

***
“The pirates were SPD?!?!”, the pilot shouted at the Igadroid. “Tell me you spaced some of them at least.”

“I attempted to,” the Igadroid answered, “unfortunately the ones wearing the black badges activated a power up I haven’t seen before.”

“A black badge unit?! Oh slag we are in it deep now.”

“One wearing a gold badge tumbled out but the one in charge of the black badges retrieved her.”

“A tokukyou too? How worse can it get? I’m getting too old for this crap.”

“SPD is approaching,” one of the surviving Batsuroids announced. A few rounds of fire followed the electronic squawk in the next moment.

“The Igadroid rushed out there to see Dan standing by a similar set of controls that it used earlier, “Anybody want to bet on what this does?” He hit the control before the bot could stop him. The door to the bridge snapped shut before another wall opened up. The Igadroid was sucked outside into open space. “We’re going EVA,” Dan ordered and they followed it out into space.

“What the slag are they doing?”, the pilot wondered. Then he got an alert that the passage way behind the door was pressurizing. The door opened up revealing DekaKnight standing there. “No, no, no, no!”

“Transporting illegal good, carrying weapon grade dark matter,” Drilian said as she stepped forward. “Villain your day of judgment is at hand.” Holding her BrayThrottle toward him she hit a control causing a small screen to flip down. A tiny, mechanical voice announced, “Judgment time!” A red X and a blue circle flashed between them. In the minute that was happening a special court was deciding the case. Finally the red X decided his fate. “Deletion approved.”

Grabbing the handle of the BrayThrottle she revved it three times then pulled it down all the way. At the top of it a blade of energy shot out, “Sword of Virtue.” She twirled around and slashed the pilot three times before stopping with her back turn toward him. “Got you,” she threw the thumbs down as he was deleted.

Outside the ship Dan and the others were knocking the Igadroid, keeping it tumbling, making sure it couldn’t get off a clear shot at one of them. “Line up!” Dan ordered. Falling in on either side of him he put his left hand over his shoulder toward his back. “D-Cannon!” Aiming them foreword he ordered, “Sight up!” A targeting reticule in their visors appeared. It hovered in their vision before locking in on the Igadroid, “Strikeout!” The Igadroid was destroyed in the next second.

“Captain Stevens I cannot seem to stop this craft,” Drilian said over the link.

“Just get us in Drilain,” Dan told her. “Ace can take care of it.”

“Acknowledged.” Finding the control in the bridge Drilian opened the wall and let them in. In moments Ace was in there and going over the controls. In less time than that she had them at a full stop.

She smiled behind the helmet, “That was easier that I thought it was going to be.”

“Ace are the star maps still intact?”, Dan asked.

“Let me check.” After a moment she said, “It looks complete to me.”

“Boomer contact the orbital base, tell Michelle to send some techs to guard this thing and arrange for command to pick this up. Also tell her were going to hook up a D-Hack and try to download the computer’s star maps. More than one Alienizer probably knows about those old gates, we need to cut out that advantage as soon as possible.”

“That was your plan all along,” Drilain said, “to discover the location of the ancient star gates.”

“It was a secondary objective,” he admitted. “My main goal was to stop this thing. Since we were here we might as well help command complete those archives while we’re at it.”

***
When they got back to the orbital station they convinced Drilain to stay and rest up a bit instead of leaving right away. She walked the halls to the field team quarters with Michelle and Dan, “Thank you for your hospitality my friends.”

“There’s no point to rush of,” Michelle told her, “besides we hardly had any time to talk the last time you were here. And it’s good to just unwind from a mission every so often.”

“It is my understanding that space is limited on this station. Where will I be resting?”

“You can stay in my room,” she said.

“Will I not be putting you out?” she asked.

“Not exactly,” she said squeezing Dan’s arm and giving her a wicked grin.

“Not in front of the guest,” he told her. “Michelle’s room is over there. If you need anything we’ll either be in the rec room or in this room over here.”

“Of course, thank you again my friends.” Driian entered the room and made sure the door was locked. Pulling an SPD communication disc out of her pockect she placed it on the desk in the room and activated it.

A bald head with pointed ears stared at her, “Report.”

“The mission was accomplished as I said it would be,” she said.

“And your observations?”

“Captain Stevens preformed exactly like I thought he would. He was even able to surprise me with his tactical ability.”

“So you’re saying he’s a candidate.”

Drilian bit her lip, “I receive the feeling he would be… resistant to the idea.”

“He’ll come around. I’ll observe myself to make the final determination. Remember you cannot tell him about this or any of his unit, not even his commander. Is that understood?”

“I hear and I will obey Commander Solen.” She ended the transmission and stared at the disc for a long time. Captain Stevens was an honorable man and in the short time they knew each other he apparently trusted her. Now if only she didn’t feel like she was betraying that newly won trust by keeping this from him.


-----
ED – Evanescence – Whisper
-----
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Old August 8th, 2019, 04:27 PM #42
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Joined: Dec 2012
Posts: 405
scikaiju
Power Ranger
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Joined: Dec 2012
Posts: 405



Special Police DekaOps
38


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OP – Alter Bridge – Metalingus
-----


The one thing every member of the field team looked forward to was sleep. It was the only part of the day they could relax and not worry about an alarm going off. They knew in the back of their minds there was a chance but it hadn’t happened. In the middle of this particular night the alarm sounded like a roar as it went off. Dan sat up quickly in his cot, taking a second to remember where he was. “The world better be coming to an end.” Getting dressed as quickly as he could he ran out of his room, the rest of his team right after him. Grabbing a tech he demanded, “What’s going on?”

“We have an incoming craft,” she answered. “It’s an alpha code signal, immediate clearance to land.”

“This is a hell of a time for a surprise inspection,” Target yawned.

“Get to the hanger,” Dan ordered. More or less to himself he mumbled, “This had better be important.” When they arrived the hanger doors had already started to open. “Attention,” at his order they snapped in place. They stood there until the craft landed and the door began to close. After it closed they still stood at attention waiting for the shuttle craft to open. Several minutes later they started glancing at Dan when nobody came out. Finally it opened around the time Dan was contemplating opening the shuttle himself.

A grey, bald alien with pointed ears walked out and eyed everyone in view. Dan fought hard to keep his face neutral as he noticed the gold badge on his chest. A Tokukyou, great. “I am Commander Solen,” he said. “Who is in charge?”

“That would be me,” Dan stepped forward, “Captain Daniel Stevens…”

“I am aware of who you are Captain,” Solen commented as he walked around the others, “and who these people are. Where is Major Pierce?”

“He’s at home with his wife,” Dan answered, “sleeping sir.”

“That will not do,” Solen said. “There is a fifth member of your unit. Where is he?”

“Also at home with his wife sleeping sir.”

“Is that all you humans do Captain?”

“It is three in the morning…. sir.”

“That doesn’t matter,” Solen snapped. “An SPD officer should be ready at a moment’s notice. I don’t need all of you anyway. Take me to your command center. I’ll let you know what is going on there.”

Dan glanced over at Ace who nodded, “if you would follow me Commander.”

Solen did so muttering something about subordinates. As soon as he was out of the room Dan immediately turned toward Michelle, “Get the Major up here now.”

“He’s not going to like this,” she told him.

“He can take it up with Goldy,” Dan said as he exited the hanger.

***
“A group of criminals got past your human gaze,” Solen ranted as he paced in front of them. “With as many units on this planet this is unacceptable. Common thugs are getting by you…”

“And me and my team can’t be everywhere at once,” Dan spoke up getting fed up with this.

“Did I say you could speak Captain?”, Solen snapped.

“I will not stand by as my team gets blasted foe something beyond our control,” Dan said holding his ground. “So unless you plan on giving this same speech to the other units…”

Solen cut him off, “I am not visiting the other units Captain. Nor am I blaming your unit so do not assume you know what I am saying.”

“Then what is the point of this Commander?”

Solen seemed to study him for a moment, “Very well then. In the northeast of this… country… we have reports of a gang of smugglers that have set up operations.”

“I haven’t heard anything about that,” Michelle said as she ran her fingers over her keyboard.

“And a superior is talking,” Solen snapped.

“And she is part of the senior staff,” Dan stepped forward, resisting the urge to get in his face, “her input, my entire team’s input is invaluable before a mission.”

“Then it shouldn’t be a problem since your team is not going.” The others couldn’t hide their surprise as Dan just eyed him. “You alone will be accompanying me on this mission Captain. From my understanding you have a particular set of skill that should prove useful. In fact the rest of you unit isn’t needed now.”

Holding up a hand to keep them in place when it looked like the Commander just dismissed them Dan informed him, “As I said, my team’s input is valuable. Sometimes they see something I’ve overlooked or come up with another option I didn’t consider.”

“Do you have no pride in your own abilities Captain?” Why did that sound like a challenge to him?

“I’m not so prideful that I’m blinded to my own weaknesses.” Michelle flinched a little, add in his tone of voice and that was close to crossing a line.

“Very well Captain,” Solen eventual conceded, “your unit may look at the data. But they will not speak out of turn.”

An hour later the Commander was finished briefing Dan when the Major finally showed. To say he had a few choice words for the Commander was an understatement. He started at coming there unannounced and went from there. While Solen was in the hanger waiting he was still going at it. Solen tried to brush him off saying, “You can take it up with Command, Major.”

“Oh you better believe I will be talking to Command,” Pierce informed him. “Commander Scorp set things up that no member of a black badge unit can be used without the Commander’s consent.”

“That does not apply to the Tokukyou.”

“Funny, he told me that exactly who he had in mind when he authorized that.”

“It does not matter Major. Captain Stevens, who was the officer in charge at the time, already agreed to be part of this operation.” The Major had a few more choice words for that when Dan walked out of the ready room in full gear. “Excellent time Captain, that was faster than I expected you to be capable of.”

Cap in hand Dan just looked at him, realizing it would be better to keep his mouth shut. Instead he looked over at Pierce and said, “Don’t send out that complaint just yet. I want to cosign on it when I get back.”

“Come on Captain,” Solen said getting into his shuttle. “There is no need to delay at this point in time.” Again Dan thought it was best to remain quiet. Instead he looked back at the doors to Ace who looked sympathetic. Putting his hat on he followed the Commander inside.

***
The trip there was as quiet as a tomb outside of the gentle beeps of the controls panels. The Commander hadn’t engaged in any small talk and Dan didn’t volunteer to start any. So while Solen piloted the ship Dan studied the map of the area Michelle had acquired for him. “You rely on your team too much,” Solen said out of the blue. “As the leader you should be able to assess any situation at a moment’s notice.”

“I trust my team to do the job they were trained for,” he said not taking his eyes off the map. “I know what my strengths are and I know theirs. It’s why we lasted this long.”

“And yet there is a death under your command.” Holding his tongue was getting harder and harder with each passing second.

“No plan is one hundred percent fool proof, and nobody can see everything at once.”

“SPD officers are supposed to be the best of the best. That sort of mistake is inexcusable.”

“I’m not sure what sort of opponents the Commander has faced,” Dan choose his words very carefully, “but the ones I’ve faced have a tendency to think on their own.”

“There’s no need to be insulted Captain. I was just making an observation. We’ve arrived,” Solen said before Dan could say anything else. He quickly landed the ship and exited before Dan could undo his seat straps. “Come Captain, you relaxed on the way here.” Dan slowly counted to ten before following him out.

A few miles from the ship Solen finally let Dan take the lead. He found a path off the regular trail in moments and waved for Solen to follow him for a change. The entire time he could feel the alien stare at him. He commented to ten for the third time and tried to pay attention to his surroundings, looking for anything that seemed off. The occasional broken twig and a stepped on plant pointed out a direction, “This way.”

“How can you be so sure?”

“I’m not seeing any tracks,” he answered. “Somebody is trying to cover up their tracks as best they can. Or something else’s tracks.”

“And what could that be Captain?”

“Well the first three things that came to mind all rhyme with droid.” Really keeping his senses on their surrounding more he cautiously moved forward. After a bit Solen started to notice the apparent trail and started taking the lead a little. After a few minutes he reached out and grabbed the Tokukyou by the shoulder, “Hold it.”

“Why?”, he demanded. “It’s obvious they headed this way.”

“Yeah,” Dan agreed as he picked up a small stone. Without a word he threw it in front of them. It disintegrated in an instant when it hit an energy field. Solen stared at the spot, “A little too obvious.”

“How did you know about that? There was no indication of anything here.”

“I didn’t hear any wildlife in front of us,” he said. “It’s a tracking trick my Grandfather picked up from an old Indian, the wild will let you know when something shouldn’t be there by their silence.” Pulling out his OpsLicense he did a quick scan, “The field goes a ways in both directions. Looks like it goes underground for a few meters too.”

“So digging out way under it is out of the question,” Solen said. “So know what do we do Captain?”

“We decided to either go left or right. There has to be a flaw in this thing somewhere that we can use.” Solen decided for them to go left. Meanwhile Dan heard something in the distance behind them and tapped the back of his right hand once.

***
That hole turned out to be a small waterfall. According to Dan’s reading the field didn’t go past the water. “This is going to be tight,” he muttered to himself as he started through. Keeping his back to the stone wall and ignoring the water pouring down on him he slowly made his way through the field. While Solen followed Dan surveyed the area for any sensors or guards. “I should have brought some soap,” he said lightly. “I could have had my morning shower done already.”

“Now is not the time for levity Captain,” Solen scolded.

“It’s either that or punch you in the face,” Dan said under his breath.

“What was that Captain?”

“You’re slowing down the pace, pick it up.” Solen didn’t get a chance to respond as Dan headed toward a mountain range in the distance. According to the data Michelle gave him there were several larger caves in that direction.

***
A glowstick in hand Dan studied the ground beneath them for any signs of who they were after. He had picked up a couple of signs leading them in this direction, nothing so obvious that warning bells went off in his head. But still he kept an eye open for just that. On the other hand Solen was noticing something on his own, “Why do you keep doing that?”

“Doing what Commander?”

“Tap the back of your hand. I’ve seen you do it once outside the field, past the opening of the field and on the way here. You tapped it at least twice since we entered this cavern. What possible purpose could it serve?”

“Force of habit,” Dan told him. “When my unit has to split up we signal our location to each other so we know where everyone is. It cuts down on the friendly fire before the enemy fires on us.”

“And a proper Deka officer would be able to capture the enemy before they were noticed,” Solen said. “Out of my way I see something.” As he barged past Dan gave in to the urge to point at the back of his head and make a shooting motion. It didn’t make him feel any better. This was going to be a long night if this turned out to be the wrong cave.

“You see anything?” Dan called out.

“Nothing,” at least he was smart enough to not shout it out. “The light reflected off of something on the wall.”

“Really?”, Dan hurried over to where he was and took a closer look at the wall. There was something there alright.

“Is that diamond?”, Solen asked now that he got a better look at it too.

“That what it looks like to me,” Dan told him. “You starting to think this smuggling operation is a mining one too?” The Tokukyou grunted in agreement. Waving the light around he found what looked like a passageway and indicated that Solen should follow him.

Coming to a crossroad of sorts Dan dropped the glowstick in the passage way they were in and activated another one. “You can use your License to map the way we came,” Solen said sounding annoyed. “There’s no need to for anything so archaic.”

“I’m not going to have time to study a map in case we have to retreat in a middle of a firefight.” He was getting real sick of this jackass questioning or challenging everything he did. Dan was getting close to telling him off once and for all. Solen started to say something but Dan held up a hand to keep him quiet. Partially because if he didn’t Dan would have gone off on him and he didn’t want to listen to a lecture from the Major later. But mainly he did it because he thought he heard something. A few seconds later he heard it again. Solen did too and both of them headed for it.

Following the sound they discovered a larger interior cavern. Anaroids were all over the place, a select few equip with a laser drilling rig. Those around them went in when the rig stopped and cleared the debris, searching for the same stone Dan and Solen saw earlier. In the center of it all was a tiger-seijin with a scar over his left eye, a dull white orb in the socket. “Get a move on ya bucket of bolts!”, he bellowed. “That Zalenite isn’t going to mine itself.”

“Zalenite?”, Dan murmured. “That’s a new one on me.”

“It’s not surprising you haven’t heard of it Captain,” Solen said. “The stone is used as a focal point in a process I believe your scientists refer to as ‘cold fusion’.”

“As in nuclear?”

Solen nodded, “Strange though, the stone used in the process is several times larger than the ones they are they are mining.”

“Maybe they’re going for something smaller,” Dan mused, “something man sized maybe.”

“That wouldn’t be feasible,” Solen told him. “Even if they planning arming one of the robots with one it would still be too large and cumbersome to be used efficiently. However,” he said after thinking it over, “it might be possible to build a new generation of robots powered by the process.”

“And you’re not making that sound like a good thing.”

“Imagine an Anaroid several times stronger and more resilient than they are now,” he informed him. “We have to stop this now. Do you see any guards?”

Something pressing against his back made Dan say, “I think I know where a couple of them are.” They carefully looked back to see five Anaroids. The guns on their backs kept them in place as the others took his OpsLicense and SP-Shooter out of their holsters while taking the BlayThrottle off of Solen’s wrist. Finding Dan’s handcuffs during a quick search they bound their wrists behind their backs.

“Well ain’t this rich,” the tiger said as the Anaroids brought them down. Forcing them to their knees the fifth Anaroid gave him the License, Throttle and SP-Shooter. “So you Deka think you could get the jump on us huh? Just who do you think I am?”

“A guy without honor,” Dan said.

“What do you know about me?!”, he roared. Yeah that was a bullseye on a nerve.

“I knew a tiger,” Dan told him, “he quickly became one of my closest friends. He told me enough about your culture to know you’re just a total dick.” His head snapped to the side as the tiger backhanded him.

“And I know enough about you Deka to know he’s the dangerous one,” the tiger pointed at Solen. Putting the Throttle on the ground he used the SP-Shooter to blast it several times. As it laid on the ground sparking he said, “I’ll deal with this later,” and tossed the License to the side. Dan tracked it to where it landed. Although he did realize Solen was watching him the entire time. “To prove you wrong and show you I do have some honor I will let you say one last thing before I kill you.”

“All right, always have a plan B.” Dan told him as he twisted his wrists around so he could tap the back of his hand twice. Solen and the tiger both stared at him for a few seconds before the SP-Shooter was shot out of his hands. The tiger tried to locate the shooter when the Anaroids behind Dan and Solen were taken out with two shots.

“What the slag?!”, the tiger shouted as five people in Dekasuits jumped down and ran toward them. Taking care of a small unit of resistance Ace, Target and Rev covered them while Boomer and Michelle started uncuffing them.

“Took you long enough,” Dan said as his wrists were freed. “My License was thrown over there.”

“I already grabbed it,” Michelle said as she put it in his hand. “You can find a way to thank me later.”

“How..?”, Solen started a loss for words.

“Cap gave me the signal to follow when he put on his hat before you guys left,” Ace explained. “He let us know where you were as soon as we arrived.”

“By tapping the back of his hand,” the Tokukyou said in understanding.

“The benefits of being part of a team,” Dan said. “Michelle, cover the Commander, he’s a little naked right now,” and he motioned to the damaged Throttle on the ground.

“You got it,” Michelle said as she grabbed Solen and took him to cover.

To the rest of them he said, “Let’s show Goldy how it’s done. Emergency! DekaOps!” In a quick red digital flash he was suited up in his Dekasuit. “Special Police.”

The lights on the side of their helmets flashed to life as they shouted, “DekaOps!”

“Get these slaggin’ bastards,” the tiger ordered.

“Take them down,” Dan said as they moved. A few of the Anaroids decided Solen would be the easier target and went after him. Michelle was trying hard to keep them from him. She was so determined to protect him she almost didn’t see the ones with the guns trying to flank them from the left.

Quickly running a finger down the keypad on her arm she quickly spread them wide, “Barrier shield.” The energy field formed the same time they fired. It was a standstill until Rev and Boomer took them out. “Thanks guys,” she told him.

“It is not a problem Michelle,” Rev said. “We are a team after all.”

Boomer added, “Besides do you have any idea what Cap would do to us if we let anything happen to you?”

“And you better remember it,” she said with a smile behind her helmet.

In the ruckus they lost track of the tiger. “You slaggin’ bastards are in for it now,” he bellowed from a ledge above them. Standing by a control the Anaroids stopped fighting and backed away from them. “Here’s a little trick I picked up from the Iczians.” He hit the control and several hidden lights flashed to life. They realized what was happening the moment they started to lift off the ground. “An anti-gravity field, you’re helpless now.”

“You don’t get out much do you?” Boomer asked.

Taking out their License they held them over their heads as Dan shouted, “EXO mode!” Bringing the License down they were covered in a grid that was quickly filled with Dekametal form black armor. Rockets formed on various places as a breathing apparatus formed on the lower half of their helmets. A colored number formed on the left side of their chest as they slotted the OpsLicense into the right.

“Ops5 locked in!”

“Ops4 locked in!”

“Ops3 Locked in!”

“Ops2 locked in!”

“Ops1 locked in!”

“I finally get to see this live,” Michelle said as she and Solen held on to whatever was bolted down.

“Nice trick but it’s not going to matter,” the tiger said. “Slag them now!”

“Target the bots with the drilling rigs,” Dan ordered. Those Anaroids were positioned outside the field and tried and tried to take aim at them. They were able easily avoid the beams and were able to pick them off inside the field. Not programmed to operate in zero gravity the remaining Anaroids were quickly disabled. Turning his attention to the tiger Dan said, “There’s nowhere to run.”

He grabbed some Zalenite and tried to do just that. Michelle was able to get out of the field and cut him off. “You’re not going anywhere furball.”

“Target orders,” Dan said as the area went dark as the tiger was scanned. A red x and blue circle flashed between hem before setting on the X,” Eliminate target. D-Cannons!” Reaching back they appeared from the left rocket pod on their back. “Sight up,” a targeting reticule appeared in their visors, in moments it turned green. “Strikeout!” Five beams penetrated the field and deleted the tiger in moments.

***
Michelle was able to use the computer system in her suit to hack the tigers computer and deactivate the antigrav field and lower the energy field around the area. Marking the location to send to Command Dan led them back to the Shepard as Solen had already left. They found him by his shuttle craft as a third vessel started to land a few yards away. “Captain can I speak with you for a moment?”, Solen asked.

“Now what?”, he muttered as he walked forward, hat in hand. Solen directed him to the other ship. The hatch opened revealing a familiar face. “Drilian? What are you doing here?” He also wondered why she wouldn’t look at him, almost ashamed for some reason. Then he noticed the person exiting behind her, “Commander Trytan?”

“Hello again Captain Steven, it’s good to see you again.”

Looking at all three of them he demanded, “What is going on?”

“Apparently I painted too good a picture of you in my report from a while back Captain,” Trytan told him a little chagrinned.

“It was more than that Trytan,” Solen said standing in front of Dan. “I have seen the reports submitted by Major Pierce as well as the training reports of Commander Mynx. They all paint a stellar picture of you Captain. The observations of my subordinate here,” Drilian looked even more ashamed than before, “combined with my experience with this little test…”

“This was a test?”, Dan asked in disbelief. God he was sick of these things.

“This wasn’t a trick Captain,” Solen quickly said. “This was an actual assignment. I wanted to see you in the field personally. In my opinion you are an excellent candidate for the Tokukyou.” Dan dropped the hat in his hands on hearing that. Rev overheard it from where he was and told the rest of them. They started to look worried as they watched what was happening. “You’re a little rough around the edges of course, and a little too dependent on others in my estimations. But we can work on that.”

“You dropped your hat Captain,” Trytan said picking it off the ground.

“No need to be concerned with something so frivolous,” Solen said. Holding out a hand he continued, “Allow me to officially welcome you as our newest member.” Dan stared at the hand in front of him. Slowly his hand started up.

Taking the hat from Trytan he turned around and put it on his head as he walked away. Solen stood there with his hand still out looking totally confused about what just happened. Trytan smirked a little as he leaned in closer, “I told you he wouldn’t go for it, but did you listen?”

“Captain”, Drilian ran after him. “I acted dishonorably in using our newly forged friendship in such a manner. Even though I was ordered not to say anything I still should have found a way. I will do whatever I have to do to make this up to you.

Standing there thinking it over he eventually said, “I know a little something about following orders you don’t agree with and go against what you stand for. I’ll get over it, don’t worry about it. As far as I’m concerned you’re welcome in our part of the galaxy anytime.”

“Thank you Captain, I will find a way to make amends and restore my honor.” He patted her on the shoulder and went back to the Shepard. Dan wasn’t sure what to make of the looks they were giving him at the moment.

“You turned down a Tokukyou position?”, Ace finally asked for them.

“I can’t be the only one who’s done that.”

“I believe you are,” Rev told him.

“Then I’m the first at something.”

“Why?”, Ace asked. “Most SPD guys I’ve talked to would give their right arm to get in.”

Again Dan had to think it over. “Honestly, I’m more of a team player than what I’ve seen of those guys. And if most of the people I’d have to deal with were like him I’d be forced to kick their teeth in.” Walking up the ramp he added, “Besides I wouldn’t force you pain in the necks off on my worst enemy.”

Smiling a bit Ace said, “We love you too Cap.”

“Get on the jet,” he told them.

Michelle stood next to him, “Am I sitting on your lap on the way back?” Dan shook his head and went deeper in the jet. “You are no fun on a mission.”

“You,” Ace walked up to her, “are the only person who can get away with that.”

“I know, isn’t it great?” Looking back at Solen Michelle said, “But I am extremely glad he turned them down.” Ace nodded in agreement as they entered the Shepard. In moments it was air born and headed home.


-----
ED – Evanescence – Whisper
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Old August 10th, 2019, 04:29 PM #43
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Joined: Dec 2012
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scikaiju
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Joined: Dec 2012
Posts: 405



Special Police DekaOps
39


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OP – Alter Bridge – Metalingus
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After all this time Chatrox was still trying to figure out this mysterious gap in the readings he recorded from the armor. Unfortunately he never really had the time to properly examine it ever since the latest Earth First fiasco. When Jansen got himself arrested during that surprise raid he honestly expected things to fall apart. Instead the humans seemed to turn toward him for leadership. It sickened him to no end. Still it was a good thing he decided he had “another engagement” that night or he might have been arrested as well. Or the very least had to been forced to reveal what he really was. And he might have had to, if he was correct about who was in that police raid based on who the alien they kidnapped was. What time he did have was limited, although he was able to free up some time by giving some of his duties to those under him. But most of that was taken up by his real job. He had to bend over backwards in some cases to keep his clients happy. He had to give two, so far, a discount to appease them. This was something he had to correct and fast before others decided they wanted one as well. What little spare time he did have was spent trying to figure out the reading.

And each try always lead him to an open field outside the city. He checked everything around the field and found nothing out of place. Not the grounds, not the trees nothing. He even checked the building nearby and saw nothing out of the ordinary to his trained eye. Walking around the field he looked at the grass below, there had to be something here. The signal disappeared for a good twenty minutes before showing back up again.

“Have you found what you’re looking for yet sir?”, his driver asked. This was the only human he could barely stand to be around, just for the fact his patience seemed endless.

“Not yet,” he answered.

“We’ll find it eventually,” he called back. Then again his near endless optimism often quickly got on his nerves.

“Perhaps,” he replied feeling disgusted with himself. This had to be a drop off point, that had to be the answer. SPD and Stevens were too smart to take anything back to their base directly in case somebody tried what he did. This was wasting his time. Walking back to the human he said, “Or perhaps not.”

“Too bad,” he said. Walking back to the road he added, “I made some inquires about that building nearby.”

“Why would you do that?”

“I thought it might make a decent place to set up a proper headquarters. People would take us a little more seriously if we didn’t meet up in secret.” It would also give them another proper target to aim at, but he didn’t say that out loud. “Funny thing though Mr. Rockwell, I can’t find who owns it.”

Chatrox stopped and looked at him, “Really?”

“In fact I can’t find any record of this property anywhere. It’s like it doesn’t exist.” Chatrox looked back at the field then to where the building was. He knew how SPD worked, but he also knew how governments worked as well. And this one was no different. Maybe Stevens wasn’t as intelligent as he gave him credit for.

Before he could say anything they heard a jet overhead and it was getting closer. Running back to the field they stayed in the tree line and saw the ground they were just on open up. Then a sickenly familiar black and white jet appeared out of the air and quickly descended into the hole. When it was inside the opening it quickly closed. Chatrox stared the entire time. “That was an SPD symbol on the jet,” the driver said.

“Yes,” Chatrox agreed with a sinister grin, “yes it was.”

“They have a secret base, they’re not supposed to have those. We got them. We can blackmail them to get the skags off planet. We might actually win.”

“Not we,” Chatrox removed an alien gun from his coat and turned around, aiming it at the human.

“Mr… Mr… Rockwell…”, he stammered as he stared at the gun.

“I, on the other hand, have the end in plain sight.” His eyes went reptilian and his grin grew larger as he watched the human’s reaction. A pull of the trigger and the human was atomized to dust. “I always knew it was a good thing that idiot couldn’t pay for the second gun.” Sneering a bit before looking back at the field he turned invisible and calmly walked away.

Minutes later Dan, Rev and Target ran into the field, SP-Shooters drawn. “I am not reading any other humanoid life signs in the immediate area Captain,” Rev said as he waved a scanner around. “It is like they said, the life sign was here one second and gone the next.”

“Teleporter?”, Dan asked.

“Michelle said there was an energy reading right before it disappeared,” Target told him. “She’s running the data now but it didn’t look like any teleporter signature she’d seen.”

“Damn it,” he grunted. Grabbing his License he nearly shouted, “I want whoever was supposed to be watching the outside sensors in my office now!”

He was a little surprised to hear the Major answer back, “Ace got to him first and is reading him the riot act. But if you want to chew his ass out you’re going to have to get in line.”

“We’ve been here over a year, this shouldn’t have happen now.”

“I know Dan, but we grew complacent and took things for granted. I’m going to keep an ear out to our contacts in the media and we both know Michelle is going to be watching the newsfeeds like a hawk.”

“I know,” he barely said out loud. “Major I recommend we don’t use the hanger for the immediate future unless absolutely necessary.”

“I agree,” he said after a few moments, “at least until we know for sure. Now if you’ll excuse me I have to see if there anything left of that tech.”

Still disgusted Dan put his License away as Rev called out, “Captain!” Dan looked over and saw him kneeling over something.

“What did you find Rev?”, he asked as him and Target ran over.

“Ash,” he answered, “but the ground is not burnt.” Dan saw what he was talking about. “This seems familiar to me for some reason.” Something about it was nagging Dan too, he just couldn’t place it.

“Take a sample for testing,” he told him. “Target…”

“Check the weapon database for something than can turn a person to ash,” she said knowing where he was going.

“Start with our old case files,” he told her. “Particularly the early ones. If Rev and me are right we dealt with something like this before.”

“But we only had one life sign reading,” Rev reminded him. “If it was a suicide attempt the area would be more heavily damaged.”

“I know,” Dan told him “We just have to figure out who fired the weapon.”

***
In the weeks that followed they only learned a couple of things. The ash Rev discovered contained human DNA, and they did deal with a weapon that caused that effect when fired. A quick check with command revealed it was still safely locked away. Which meant there was another one out there. The only problem was it hadn’t shown up again since then. The lone bright spot in the whole thing was there was no mention of the “secret base” anywhere in the news. A small comfort but it still made them uneasy. But they tried not to think about it that much.

In order to keep his sanity Michelle was able to talk Dan into going topside every so often. Fortunately it was taking less and less effort to do so. Although it did take the occasional threat. “Are you ever going to call in Hawaii?”, he asked as they walked down the street. “Or are you going to hold that over my head forever?”

“Why should I give up something that works so well?”

“Even if I didn’t want said favor to begin with?”

“Stop your bitching,” she told him. “Be happy, you’re with an extremely beautiful woman on a gorgeous day.”

“I know, you’re right,” he said. “I just can’t shake this feeling the other shoe is about to drop.”

“Unfortunately that particular shoe isn’t under our control. If it drops it drops. We’ll worry about it then.”

“That’s never been my style,” he informed her.

“I know, if the rest of you weren’t so cute that would have turned me right off of you,” she grinned.

Smiling back he said, “Lucky for me then.”

“You never did tell me where we were going.”

“I figure we head to that café you like.”

“We’re almost becoming regulars.”

“The moment they start knowing our order before we say anything we start looking for a new place.” Dan didn’t realize there was somebody right in front of him until he ran into him, “Oh I’m sorry.” Getting a good look at the guy he wished he kept going.

“My fault entirely,” the man said. “Forgive me, Chad Rockwell,” he held out a hand that Dan ignored.

“I’m familiar with who you are,” was all he said.

“Yes I guess the media has that effect,” he said unfazed. “Judging from your reactions I guess you’re not a believer. To each their own as they say.” He walked off as Dan watched him. He definitely knew that guy from somewhere, now where in the hell was it?”

“Do you want me to start looking again when we get back?”, Michelle asked him.

He had to think it over for a moment, “No, I’m done with that guy. It’s probably my imagination any way. You seen one sleazy guy you’ve seen them all right?”

“That’s one way to look at it.” Taking his arm she said, “Come on, I already know what I want to order.”

What Dan didn’t see was Rockwell dip into an alley and watched them as they continued on. He saw Stevens take one more look behind him before returning his attention to the woman he was with. He grinned with satisfaction as he quite literally disappeared into the alley. Stevens wasn’t going to know what hit him.

***
“I need the field team to the Command Room now!” the Major’s voice bellowed over the intercom. All of them stopped what they were doing and rushed there. The Major didn’t wait for them to get in line as he said, “We have a major problem. A literal army of bots is attacking downtown.”

“When did this start?”, Dan asked.

“I’m not sure but we just intercepted the emergency call a minute ago.”

“I can get the Shepard prepped and ready to go in no time,” Ace said.

“I don’t think we have the time,” Dan told her. “Have the garage get one of the jeeps ready. Michelle, make sure the police concentrate on clearing the area of civilians.”

“I’m already in contact with them,” she said. Looking up at him she asked, “The other show dropped?”

“We’ll deal with it,” he told her. “We don’t have time people, move!” They didn’t even change into their civilian gear as they ran for the elevator

***
The drive there was tense as they broke every speed limit on the way to get there. Unfortunately what they were looking for wasn’t that hard to find. Smoke could be seen before they hit the city limits. Behind the wheel Ace wished their jeep could go faster. And she wasn’t the only one with that thought. Back at OpsBase Michelle was doing everything she could to make sure the local police didn’t see them while making sure the evacuation of the civilians wasn’t hampered. They found a wave in no time as a few Igadroids was leading the charge. Standing up in the jeep Boomer muttered, “Oh geez.”

“Let’s do it people,” Dan told him as he jumped out of the jeep. They ran toward the bots. Not caring who saw at the moment they had their OpsLicense out. “Emergency! DekaOps!” A digital flash and they were in their Dekasuits. The bots didn’t stop their wave of destruction as they continued toward them.

Target jumped over the front line, twisting so she could get off several shots with her D-Shooter. As soon as she landed she spun around and kicked an Anaroid in the head. Turning back around she fired at an Anaroid trying to come up behind her. There were more right behind it. “This is going to suck.”

Boomer and Rev stormed through slicing away with their D-Rods. They kept moving to make sure the bots couldn’t get a grip or a target lock on them. A couple of Batsuroids were able to get between them and separate them. Boomer tried to stop them but one of the Igadroids grabbed him from behind and threw him to the ground. It had its cross blade raised over its head ready to strike. Rev jumped over the bots separating them and planted both feet into its back before it could do so. Boomer took that opening to grab his D-Shooter and fire at the bots coming at Rev. “Thanks buddy,” he said as he scrambled to his feet.

“Do not thank me yet Robert,” Rev said as he looked at the group surrounding them.

Ace didn’t waste any time getting out her D-Shot and blasting away. She was knocking them down left and right but more seemed to be coming. Before she knew it Target had her back and joined her in firing her D-Shot. After several shots Target ended up asking, “There is an end to these guys right?”

“We’re going to find out one way or another,” Ace told her. But honestly she wasn’t really seeing an end of these things either.

“Ugh,” Dan grunted as he went down to a knee. Four of the Igadroids decided to focus on him for some reason. Grabbing his D-Knife he plunged it through the foot of one of them and into the asphalt. It pinned it there just long enough so he could get to his feet. Blocking everything thrown at him Dan grunted as he realized they were backing him up. Making some space he grabbed his holdout D-Shooter and got out three shots before it was knocked out of his hand. Kicking the closest one away he pulled his D-Colt and fired point blank right into its head.

A Batsuroid grabbed him from behind and pinned his arms to his side. Its head sparked as Target shot it. Ace ran in and plunged her D-Knife into one of the Igadroids’ back as they pushed through. “You’re getting sloppy Cap,” Ace told him as they faced off with the bots.

“I need some eyes in the back of my head,” he commented.

“Help me!” They turned their heads to the alley behind them. “Somebody help me please!”

“You have got to be joking,” Target said.

Dan looked back at the bots then at the alley, “Ace…”

“We got this,” she told him. “Help whoever that is and get your butt back here.”

Despite the situation Dan had to smile, “Yes ma’am.” Running into the alley he tried to locate the person screaming. That person practically fell into view as he landed on his ass from one of the adjoining alleys and kept backing up. It took Dan a second to realize it was Rockwell, but he still had to save him.

Rockwell looked terrified as he saw him running toward him, “Please you got to help me!” He got close enough to see an Igadroid stalking Rockwell.

Getting between them Dan pulled out his D-Rod and tried to keep the bot at bay. “They way I came should be clear,” Dan told Rockwell. “Get out of here now!”

Rockwell quickly stood up, “Sure thing.” Then he calmly added, “Stevens.”

“What?”, Dan started to turn around a Rockwell jammed something into his side. A large electoral current ran through his body. Eventually it overloaded the Dekasuit and it faded away as he fell to the ground. Rockwell kicked him to make sure he was out.

Taking the OpsLicense out of its holster he told the Igadroid, “Get him out of here.” The Igadroid nodded and picked him up. As it carried him away Rockwell pulled a communicator out of his jacket, “Target acquired. Terminate distraction tactics.”

In the street the bots stopped attacking and overpowering them and retreated to where they came from. Ace and the others just watched in disbelief as it happened. “Did we just win?”, Boomer asked totally stunned.

“I don’t think so,” Ace told him.

“Where is the Captain?”, Rev asked looking around.

“We heard a civilian and he went to help him out,” Ace explained. “Ops5 to Ops1,” she said into her License. He didn’t answer. “Ops5 to Ops1 come in.” Again silence. “Cap answer me.”

“He went this way,” Target said going into the alley. They all searched every turn off they could find and still found nothing.

“Ops5 to OpsBase, did Cap check in with you?”

“We haven’t heard anything,” Michelle answered. “What’s going on?”

She was almost reluctant to say, “He’s missing.”

***
With one hell of a headache greeting him as he woke up Dan tried to figure out where he was. The first thing he noticed as his eyes started to focus was his gear a few feet in front of him, his OpsLicense right on top. That’s when he noticed his arms were outstretched and tied to a couple of poles, but he was on his knees for some reason. “Finally you’re awake.” Looking around he saw Rockwell standing to the side with an Igadroid. Coming closer he continued, “I was starting to think I killed you. I am going to kill you Stevens but not just yet.”

“So Earth First getting that desperate now?”, Dan asked, trying to figure out what was going on. And try to buy some time to escape if he could.

“Those idiots weren’t as useful as I thought they would be,” he said. “Never trust a human to do anything right.”

“Who are you?”

“Really Stevens, I thought it would have been obvious by now.” He watched as Rockwell changed right before his eyes, right into a chameleon-seijin.

“Chatrox!” Dan struggled against his bindings to get at him. The Agent laughed at the effort.

“I always knew you weren’t that smart Stevens.” Grabbing his face he got in close, “I said long ago humans didn’t belong in the Ops program.”

“So says the piece of shit with the illegal genetic enhancements,” Dan spat. Chatrox just sneered as he let him go. “Are you going to kill me now or what?”

“Are you in that much of a hurry to die human?” Grabbing a knife off a nearby table he pressed it against Dan’s cheek, “Like I said Stevens, I am going to kill you. But not yet. Practically ripping the sleeve off his arm Chatrox cut into his forearm. Dan grunted but didn’t give Chatrox the pleasure of hearing him cry out. Collecting some of the blood in a test tube the Agent told him, “I want you to see what’s going to happen to your precious SPD first.”

***
“Anything?”, the Major asked as he watched Michelle at her station. Like before she never left her station since she found out.

“Rev and Ace haven’t reported anything yet,” she said. He could tell how torn up she was. Target and Boomer came in and looked at him. He shook his head to answer their silent question. Suddenly Michelle stopped and put a hand over her mouth. “What if somebody used that gun on him?” She couldn’t stop the tears from falling.

“We didn’t find any ash,” Boomer quickly said. “There’s no point in thinking the worst.”

“Yeah,” Target agreed. “You guys told me this happened before. We’ll get him back, just like last time.”

“We knew who took him then,” Michelle snapped. In her hands she said, “I should have been there.”

“And we still wouldn’t know what happened,” the Major told her.

“You don’t know that,” Michelle snapped at him.

“No I don’t,” he said calmly, “but it is a strong possibility. We didn’t get him back last time by second guessing ourselves.” They nodded in agreement. “Have Ace see me as soon as she gets back. We’re going to need a plan of action once we locate him.”

***
He wasn’t sure how long it had been since Chatrox stepped into that machine on the other side of the room, it had to be a few hours at least. In that time Dan was able to get his legs out from under him and tried to reach his gear with his foot. He had to do something, hit the sensor on his glove, somehow activate the ditch function in his License anything. But no matter how far he stretched, no matter how he twisted himself it was always an inch or two out of reach. The Igadroid in the room seemed to silently laugh at his attempts but didn’t try to stop him.

The chamber Chatrox entered hissed and smoked as it opened. An almost rancid smell assaulted his nose as it reached him. Chatrox came out and dressed as his scales turned from a gray back to their original green. “Have you figured out what I’m going to do yet human?”

“Humor me?”, Dan told him.

Chatrox chuckled, “To put it in words you’ll understand, I’m going to steal the SPD database.”

“You tried that already,” Dan said. “That’s how they discovered your enhancements.”

“True,” he agreed, “but I’ve learned from my earlier mistakes. The other database was in a rather public compound. This time I just happen to know the location of a secret base, so I shouldn’t have the same problem.” Dan’s gut started twisting in knots as he realized where he was talking about. “And from there I will send it directly to the bosses. Well not me exactly.” As he walked foreword he started to change again. His skin went pink and he grew blond hair on his head. Kneeling before him Dan saw a face he saw every time he looked in the mirror twist into a sinister sneer. “It’s going to be you who steals it. I can’t think of a better way to ruin you Stevens.” Dan just stared daggers at him as he walked away laughing.


-----
ED – Evanescence – Whisper
-----
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Old August 12th, 2019, 11:21 AM #44
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Power Ranger
 
Joined: Dec 2012
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scikaiju
Power Ranger
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Joined: Dec 2012
Posts: 405



Special Police DekaOps
40


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OP – Alter Bridge- Metalingus
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Michelle sat in her room trying to hold it together. It had been three days since Dan had disappeared and they were no closer to finding him. They went over the alley with a fine tooth comb. Rev was able to confirm he was there and that was about it. The beeping said somebody was at her door waiting to come in. She ignored it for several minutes before finally opening it. Ace was standing there looking unsure of herself. “Let me guess, no word.” Michelle said to break the silence. Shaking her head in response Michelle went to close the door until Ace blocked it with her hand.

“Michelle…”, she started to say.

“Don’t,” Michelle cut her off, “don’t tell me you wished you did things differently. Don’t tell me you’re trying to find him.”

“I wasn’t,” she shot back. A little more subdued she went to say, “I was getting worried about you. Everybody is.”

“I’m trying not to lose it,” she told her. “I’m doing everything not to dwell on the fact we can’t find him. From making sure footage of you guys didn’t get leaked out to checking to see if any cases our coming our way.” Sitting back down she added, “’Cause God knows the world isn’t stopping because he’s not here.”

Joining her on the bed Ace tried to comfort her, “That’s why we’re worried. You’re running yourself ragged. A lot of us are worried you’re just going to drop.”

Tears starting to fall she admitted, “It would just be easier if we knew for sure what happened. Last time we knew Waven took him, we had a target to go after. If there was some ash there I’d at least have an idea.”

“I know,” Ace said. “You have no idea how many times I’ve gone over that moment in my head. I’ve gone back time after time trying to see if there was anything I missed or forgot. I even grilled Rev on if he heard anything.”

“So did I. But we both know he would have said something when it happened.” Ace nodded in agreement.

“Come on,” Ace said getting up. “Let’s get you something to eat. I don’t think I’ve seen you in the cafeteria lately. Even you can’t live off coffee forever.”

Smiling sadly Michelle told her, “Dan used to tell me the same thing.”

***
For what seemed like the hundredth time Dan tested the chain connecting him to the wall. He had nothing else to do the days he had been here, where ever here was. Hell he was surprised Chatrox was actually feeding him. It was a brown tasteless slop, still it was unexpected. So how long was that going to last? One more time he looked around for something to pick the lock on the cuff around his wrist with, he still found nothing. The only thing he could do was go over everything that happened so far.

After falling for Chatrox’s trap he found himself here and that damn lizard was able to use that machine of his and his blood to enhance himself again. This time being able to turn in an almost carbon copy of Dan. Then he ripped the shirt off of him and had that Igadroid of his study him for a long time. Then he had that Igadroid switch him over to his current binding and gave him the dirty shirt he was currently wearing. And the entire time Chatrox tried to force information out of him. Dan knew what he was trying to do and wasn’t cooperating.

Speak of the devil he thought to himself as Chatrox and the Igadroid walked in. Again the bot was carrying a folding chair, time for another “interview”. Dan said nothing as he stood there watching them. Like always the Igadroid set up the chair, like always Dan refused to sit. One more time the bot forced him down. He and the Agent just stared dagger at each other not saying anything.

Finally the Agent began, “I know you humans are stubborn but Stevens you must be the most stubborn one of all of them.” He stepped closer, the Igadroid kept Dan in the chair. “One more time, how do you enter your base?” He said nothing but braced himself for the backhand he knew was coming. Bringing his head back around Chatrox continued, “How do you get into your base?” Again he backhanded him when he didn’t say anything. “Fine,” Chatrox spat, “let’s try something else. I know the SPD database needs a pass code to enter it. What is your pass code?” Still he said nothing. This time Chatrox nodded and the Igadroid started squeezing his shoulder. Dan gritted his teeth against the pain and tried to endure. When it felt like his collar bone was about to break the Igadroid released his grip. “What is you pass code?” He had the bot do it again and again before finally shouting, “ANSWER ME!”

Dan just smiled at him and said, “Puss ‘n’ boots.” Chatrox screamed in frustration and backhanded him in anger. Dan spit out some red tinted spit as the Agent walked away in disgust. “You won’t fool them,” Dan told him.

“I know,” Chatrox informed him. “I just have to fool them long enough to complete my task. And I have everything I need to do just that.” Removing his tunic he changed into a copy of Dan one more time. “As you can see I have thought this out.” He turned around so Dan could see the copies of all his scars on his upper body, even the eagle tattoo on the back of his shoulder. Returning to his original form he added, “And I have various ways to avoid immediate attention. The only drawback is I lost the use of my previous human disguise. It’s for the best, the thought I could even turn into two of you humans disgusts me”

The door opened and a Batsuroid came in carrying something. Chatrox picked it up and Dan saw a tattered version of his uniform. “And this should help confirm the story I plan on telling them,” he continued. “Just long enough for them to think I am you. When I steal the database they will be looking for you and not me. It should give me just enough time to leave this backwater planet.”

“You still need what I know,” he told him.

“Perhaps,” Chatrox said looking thoughtful. “After I infiltrated those human scum I learned a little about human pass codes. It’s usually something familiar to them. And I’ve studied you enough to know you are a creature of habit. Every day on Nagus 7 I knew you would do the same thing every morning like clockwork.” Taking the clothes Chatrox said, “I am running out of time, and I should be able to determine your pass code at your base. The next time you see me Stevens I will have accomplished my task and then I will finally kill you, slowly. And be rest assured that I will enjoy every moment of it.” The Igadroid left with him as the Batsuroid stood guard. For the hundredth and first time he pulled on the chain trying to get loose.

***
One particularly sunny day Barry, Paula and Danielle were busy window shopping, at least Paula and Dani were. Paula looked back at her husband seeing how distracted he was. A couple of days ago he called Dan. Michelle picked up. At first he thought Dan was out on an assignment, then she told him he was missing. She promised to keep them updated. Both of them were worried but tried not to show it in front of Danielle. “That looks pretty Mommy,” the little girl said pointing out one particular piece of jewelry in the store window.

“Yes it is,” she said. “What do you think Barry?”

He got out of his stupor just long enough to wheel himself over. “I think my little girl has expensive tastes, but it is very lovely munchkin.” Picking her up and setting her on his lap Barry wheeled them down the street as Paula walked beside them. “Where do you girls want to eat? I heard good thing about this restaurant down the street.”

“Michelle said they liked it,” Paula said without thinking.

“Is Uncle Danny going to be there?”, Danielle asked getting excited.

“Uncle Danny’s a busy man pumpkin,” Barry told her. “He probably won’t be there.” She looked disappointed but nodded in understanding. Paula and Barry glanced at each other, how were they going to explain things if their worst fear came to pass?

Danielle looked down the street and saw a head of blond hair coming toward them. He face brightened as she recognized who it was. “Uncle Danny!”, she quickly jumped off her father’s lap and ran toward him.

“Danielle!”, Paula quickly chased after her with Barry following as fast as he could.

“Uncle Danny! Uncle Danny!”, she continued to shout. She stopped short when the face she knew her entire life twisted into something she didn’t recognize.

She started backing away as he growled, “Out of my way brat.” Then he walked past her.

“Dan?”, Paula asked concerned but he brushed her aside too. A sob from her daughter grabbed her full attention.

“Danny…,” Barry started as he was totally ignored. He knew that man since basic and knew something was off. Based on how he looked he figured Dan must have been put through the wringer.”It’s ok munchkin, it looks like he’s had a rough time. I’m sure he doesn’t know what’s going on.”

“Yeah,” Paula quickly agreed. “I’m sure as soon as he realizes what happened he’ll feel bad and apologize.”

Barry looked back to see Dan get in a van. Between the sobs Danielle said, “That’s not Uncle Danny.”

***
Sitting at her station Michelle tried hard to stay awake. Having a hard time sleeping due to the worrying she rubber her eyes and tried to pay attention to the feed in front of her. A musical tone caught her ear and her hand immediately went to her pocket. It was a little against regulations but she started carrying her cell phone with her the past couple of days. Just in case Dan tried to contact her that way. Looking at the caller ID she tried not to sound disappointed, “Hi Barry.”

“We just saw Dan!”, he said immediately.

She nearly jumped out of her chair, “What? Where?”

“Downtown by Sixth and Johnson,” he answered. “I would have told you sooner but I left my phone behind like an idiot.”

“How long ago was it?”

“About fifteen minutes ago.”

“Damn it,” she muttered. “Did he look all right?”

“He acted like he didn’t even recognize us,” he said before explaining what happened. “Then he got into this van.” As he described it Michelle processed all of it trying to figure how far a van could get in fifteen minutes during afternoon traffic. Before she could get anywhere with her console beeped. Her heart jumped a beat when she saw who it was.

“Ops1 to base.”

“Dan!”, she exclaimed. “Where are you?”

“I don’t know,” he said, “somewhere in the park.”

“The park?”,” she said confused. “That wasn’t what… never mind. Stay where you are I’ll pin point your location and send a jeep after you.”

“Right, Ops1 out.”

Realizing she forgot she was on the phone she started to say, “Barry…”

“I heard,” he told her. “Go get him and bring him home.”

“Already on it.”

***
The crowd that greeted when they brought him to their base surprised even him. Although he was quickly heralded to the medical center as soon as he arrived. “Dan” tried not to look apprehensive. Depending on what they used his plan to avoid detection could be shot down before he implemented it. “Captain,” the team’s resident alien said smiling, “it is good to see you again.”

“It’s good to be seen,” he said thinking quickly. “I don’t suppose we could do this later? I have to report in.”

“The Major ordered a complete physical the moment you returned,” he informed him. “If you would please lay on the bed.” He looked over and saw his chance. There was some sort of readout on the bed. A finger going to his belt buckle he touched it briefly as he got on placing a small chip that quickly blended itself into the device. The alien’s back was turned so he didn’t see the screen flicker momentarily. Closing his eyes he waited until the test were done. “According to these readings you are none the worse for wear.”

He smiled to himself, “Good to hear.”

About then a group of people he recognized plus a Commander unfamiliar to him hurried in. A female in a white coat ran over and hugged him around the neck. It was extremely difficult to hide his disgust in front of the others. However the female pulled back and looked at him strangely. Chatrox ran through everything that just happened, he couldn’t have slipped up already. “Are you all right Dan?”

“I’m fine according to him.” Then he remembered, this female was with Stevens on the streets that day. Were they mates? “I’m sorry,” he reached out and started rubbing her arm, “the past few days have been weird.”

“That goes without saying,” their commander said. He took immediate notice that he was using a cane and filed that away as a potential weakness to exploit. “Can you tell us what happened, where you disappeared to?”

“I don’t remember much,” he answered. “I got flashes of being on the street, a building I think. The only thing I remember clearly was waking up in the park.”

“Do you remember what happened in the alley?”, one of the other females asked, he thought she was the pink one.

“I remember facing an Igadroid, that’s about it.”

“Well then,” the newer blue female said, “looks like we were right and it was a trap.”

“Yeah but who set it?”, the red headed male said, he had to be the yellow one.

“Major,” the alien spoke up, “in view of this new information I suggest that the Captain should be temporarily removed from active duty for the time being.”

“Major that isn’t necessary,” “Dan” said in protest.

“You know Rev outranks me in here Dan,” he answered. “Besides I agree with him. Whoever was behind this wanted you specifically for some reason. Until we find out that reason it’d be better if you took some time off.”

“You’re right,” he conceded. “Sorry Rev.”

“It is all right Captain, I expected that reaction out of you. But you do need your rest, I must ask all of you to leave the room.”

“Of course,” the Major agreed.

“Don’t worry Cap,” the pink one said, “the teams is safe in my hands until Rev gives you the green light.”

“Not a doubt in my mind,” he told her.

“I’ll bring you some dinner later,” Stevens’ female told him.

“Can’t wait,” he said remembering to smile a bit. She smiled back as they left the room. If any of them looked back they would have seen that smile turn into something a little more sinister.”

***
From the outside light he could see he could tell it was getting pretty dark. Surprisingly his Batsuroid guards continued to feed him that tasteless slop. He also had a lot of freedom apparently. Well as free as you could get being chained to a wall. He used that to see if he could get a reaction out of the Batsuroids. Anything, just the tiniest hint that he was doing something he something he wasn’t or close to something he shouldn’t be. They just stood there like a pair of statues. Either they were programmed really well or there wasn’t anything around that they considered dangerous.

Deep down he knew why he was doing this. One, he was trying to stay sane. Two, he was trying hard not to dwell on the fact that when Chatrox did slip up there was no guarantee that he would tell them where he was. And he could be here a long time, depending on if the Batsuroids were programmed to kill him after so long a period or not.

***
The alien allowed him back to Stevens’ quarters after his meal. His female offered to take him there. She said she understood when he said he wanted to be alone for the moment. Chatrox wanted to drop his disguise but couldn’t risk somebody walking in on him. Taking a moment to look around he tried to find the best place to start. Something in here had to be a clue to his pass code. The first thing that caught his attention was the pictures on the wall. Two in particular stood out immediately. One was an image of Stevens and his unit. Not this unit exactly he realized, this one had the original blue one in it. That’s when he noticed the image of the current lineup. But nothing in particular stood out. Looking at the other one that caught his eye he saw a slightly younger looking Stevens. The one he broke out of jail that failed him was there as well with several he didn’t recognize. A banner behind them said “Eagles”. That could be a possibility.

Another wall held numerous objects. From his time with those Earth First morons he learned they were called books. Could something there be a clue? He studied the spines, he didn’t have time to read them all. Picking one up he skimmed through it trying to see if anything would catch Stevens’ eye. The dresser below the books had a couple of more on it plus a few more personal belongings, including a picture of him and the female. He was going to have to learn her name and those of the others before they got suspicious. That was for later though he still had to search for clues to that pass code.

***
Like she had for the past couple of days Ace ran the team through their daily morning drills. Today everybody seemed to have extra bounce in their step. They had Cap back, he may not be cleared to run anything yet but they had him back. Ace in particular was very happy to have him back, in fact she let a couple of things slide that she normally would have jumped on them for. “Keeping the others on their toes I see,” Cap surprised her. She didn’t hear him come up behind her.

“You wouldn’t have it any other way,” she said smiling. A little more serious she said, “I know I had to take over for you a couple of times but I forget how big your boots actually are sometimes. It’s noting I can’t handle but the paperwork’s a bitch,” she said grinning again.

“It’s not exactly my favorite part of the job either,” he grinned back.

“Hey Cap,” Boomer called out as they ran up to them. “Are you going to join us this morning?”

“Rev hasn’t given me the go ahead yet,” he answered.

“Never stopped you before,” Ace joked.

“I figured I’d listen this time around.”

“It is true what they say,” Rev spoke up, “there is a first time for everything.”

“So Cap do you have a verdict on how we did today?”, Target asked.

It took a moment for him to answer, “You guys did great.” He patted Boomer on the shoulder as he walked pat them, “Like you always do. You guys haven’t disappointed me yet. I can’t imagine you doing any better.”

They were stunned silent as he left the gym. Boomer in particular looked back and forth between them and the door he went through before finally focusing on Rev. “Did Cap get hit in the head?”

“He says he doesn’t remember what happened after he was captured,” Rev answered. “It is a distinct possibility.”

“I don’t want to be this person,” Target spoke up, “but he says he doesn’t remember who caught him or how he got away from them.”

“That particular gap in his memory is why I suggested that he should be removed from active duty,” Rev told her.

“We all thought it Target,” Ace said looking down and crossing her arms. “And I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one who’s doesn’t want to think the worst.”

“So we keep an eye on him,” Boomer continued for her. “What if we’re right and whoever captured Cap did something to him.”

She had a hard time looking at them, “Then we’re going to have to do one of the hardest things we’ve ever done.”

***
At her terminal Michelle sat there tapping her fingers. She was expecting to wake up happy. But in that moment of being awake and not really aware of anything yet she realized something. It wasn’t anything he did but what he said, “Ops1 to base”. That ran through her head several times and it bugged her each time. Dan never said “Ops1” to anything. It was either, “Stevens to OpsBase” or “This is Stevens, go”. Maybe it was a mental slip because of what he went through but it was nagging her so much. There was one person on base would know for sure.

Finding the Major in his office doing the morning paperwork she knocked on his doorway. “What can I do for you Michelle?”

Sitting down she wasn’t sure how do begin. Finally she just came out with it, “Have you noticed anything off about Dan since he’s been back?”

He sat back in his chair looking worried, “Little things mainly. I want to put it down to his time in captivity. But since he can’t tell us what happened on those days it’s hard to say. Have you noticed anything?”

“Little things,” she said as well. “Things that shouldn’t be bothering me as much as they are.”

“Such as?”

“The way he called in for one. Then there was something this morning, a couple of techs came up to him. He looked annoyed at first, but it was paperwork that needed his signature so I really didn’t think anything of it at the time. But I noticed he didn’t use either of their names until somebody passing said it.”

“There’s not anything really big there,” he told her. “Although he did that with Rev yesterday. And he did seem a little lost when I ran into him this morning.” Thinking it over a bit he said, “I think I’ll have Rev run a few more tests just to be on the safe side.”

“That might be a good idea,” Michelle’s DataLicense went off and she excused herself, “This is Michelle.”

Both of them were a little surprised to hear Rev respond, “I could use you assistance. One of my scanner beds is malfunctioning. We have been trying to correct the problem but we are not making any head way. Since the problem seems to be computer based I thought you might be able to help”

“Sure thing Rev, let me grab some things and I’ll be right there.” To the Major she said, “While I’m there I’ll ask Rev about those tests.”

“Tell him the sooner it’s done the faster we know what’s going on. I’ve known Dan way too long to be suspecting him like this.”

Quickly grabbing her gear she met Rev in the med bay. She was a little surprised when he directed her to the bed he had Dan on yesterday. “So what’s the problem?”

“This particular bed has been giving us some abnormal readings. We first noticed it last night when Simmons came in with symptoms of a cold. It registered him as fine even though we could see he was not. We have checked all the scanners and all of them are functional.”

“It’s probably just a glitch,” she assured him. Hooking up her gear she ran several tests. And right now she was getting confused at the results she was getting. Staring at them for several moments she looked at Rev, “Can you get on there for a quick test?” He complied and she let the tech run the scan. Based on his reaction it looked like he wasn’t expecting these results either.

Getting off the bed Rev checked the results for himself, “It is reading me as human?”

“The system’s been corrupted somehow,” Michelle told him. “But I don’t see how unless…” A thought she didn’t want to think entered her head. Holding the back of her head she was afraid to hear the answer. “Was this bed working before you scanned Dan?”

“It was working perfectly as far as I am aware of.” She was right, she didn’t want to hear that.

“I need to go to my room real quick,” she told him “I’ll be… I’ll be right back.”

“Of course Michelle,” he replied.

Rushing to her room she grabbed her cell phone and quickly dialed a number. “Barry? It’s Michelle. Where did you say you saw Dan again?”

***
These humans were more suspicious than he originally thought they would be. So far he has caught members of Stevens’ team and his female following him or staring at him intently. That was his fault, he supplied too little information about his “escape” as they put it. Then again too much might have caused the same effect. He had to act quickly to enact his plan before he made them even more suspicious. Right now two of the techs have been following him. He had to lose them the only way he knew how. Ducking into an empty corridor he turned invisible the moment he was out of sight. Pressing against the wall he heard them quickly try and catch up. “What the hell?”, one of them said.

“He can’t be far,” the other told him. They hurried off and Chatrox went in the other direction. They were going to report his disappearance sooner or later so he didn’t have much time. Staying invisible he headed for one of the computer rooms he had been able to locate so far. Making sure nobody else was around he hurried inside and waited for the door to close. Seeing nobody inside he became visible again, although he still had to be in Stevens’ form to do this.

“Computer, access and open the database and prepare to send it as a data file on this encoded frequency.” Taping in the frequency he waited.

“Authorization and voice code to complete task,” the monotone female voice replied.

“Authorization Stevens, Daniel. Voice code… Eagles.”

“Access denied,” it said as the screen went red. He didn’t expect to hit the pass code on the first try. But he created a list of possible candidates based on the things in Stevens’ quarters. And he knew how many chances he had before this station would lockdown. Before that could happen he would simply leave and try again later at one of the other stations. All he had to be was patient.

***
“I still do not see what this has to do with a corrupted diagnostic bed,” Rev said as they walked down the street.

“It has everything to do with it Rev,” Michelle told him. “From everything we saw it looks like the bed got hacked into. You said it was fine before Dan was scanned. He has a gap in his memory where he has no idea what happened to him. What if whoever captured him did something to his head? Programmed him to make sure we couldn’t detect it.”

“How can that be possible?”, Rev asked.

“I don’t know!”, she snapped. “All I know is Dan’s friend saw him here fifteen minutes before he called in. The answer is here!”

Rev looked at her for a second. “Then let us find it. Did his friend say where in this area that he saw the Captain?”

“Only that it was on this street.”

“Perhaps we should have brought the others to help in the search.”

“I already talked it over with Ace and she shared my concerns. They’re going to be watching Dan while we do this.”

They walked down the street scanning the area before Rev spoke up again, “The Captain is such a strong willed individual. The idea somebody…”

“I know,” Michelle said, not wanting to hear it out loud. “But there are people out there in the galaxy who specialize in just that. The moment I find out who they are dead.”

“Michelle,” Rev said stopping where he was.”

“I know that wasn’t proper police behavior,” she began. Then she noticed he was looking at the scanner in his hand. “What is it?”

“I am not sure. There seems to be a void in the life signs on this block nearby.”

“Let me see.” He positioned the scanner so she could view it too. Like he said there was an empty spot close by. “Can this pick smaller life forms, like animals?”

“I believe it is possible.” Fiddling the controls more life signs readings popped up. Except for that one building. Both of them watched a small animal walked toward the building before the reading suddenly disappeared. “Is there a field around the building that is blocking the signal?”

“It’s a starting point, let’s go.” Finding the abandoned building in no time they didn’t see anything out of place. Getting off the street and into a side alley they drew their SP-Shooters as Rev found a door leading inside. He tried it and discovered it was locked. Motioning for here to move aside he shot the lock. Rev went in first, weapon pointed in front of him. Michelle was right behind him with her eyes peeled. There had to be something thing here. A whir from behind caught their attention. They both spun around. An Anaroid appeared and they both fired. After it was over she said, “This has to be the place.”

“Indeed,” Rev agreed as they went deeper in. They tried several doors, only stopping when a bot crossed their path. She opened one last door and stopped, stunned at who she saw inside.

“Look out!”, Dan shouted at her. Rev pulled her back as a Batsuroid tried to attack her, quickly firing a shot into it’s head another one came toward them. Michelle came to her senses and took care of that one. Rev covered the room while Michelle slowly walked toward Dan.

“Dan?”, he voice was barely above a whisper.

“I know you’ve been wanting to spice up the love life a bit, but can we count out chains,” he pulled on the one connecting him to the wall, “because I’m not really feeling it.” This was him, she knew it and immediately went to him. They held each on to each other for dear life. “I’m fine,” he said when he noticed she was shaking. “There’s no permanent damage.” After a moment he said, “I was starting to wonder if I was going to see you and the others again.”

“Well we saw you already,” Michelle told him, pulling away. “What the hell is going on?”

“Chatrox,” was all he said. “Rev, down that hallway somewhere is a genetic resequencer. He used that to turn into a copy of me. You need to mark the location so we can send it to SPD Command.” Michelle and Rev just stood there looking at each other. “What are you just standing around for? We got to get out of here and stop Chatrox before he can get his plan going.”

“Dan I want to believe with all my heart that this is you,” she told him. “But there are two of you walking around. I need some concrete proof.”

“We don’t have time for this…,” he muttered. “Fine, outside of Rev doing some blood work you have a birthmark in the shape of a butterfly on your left bu…” she cut him off with a kiss.

“Now I believe it’s you,” she told him. “Rev, see if there’s a key around here somewhere.” As he started checking the bots she asked, “Do you know what Chatrox plan is this time?”

“You’re not going to believe this one.”

***
This was maddening, he just exited his third computer room still having to complete his task. This damn pass code of Stevens’ was proving harder to pin down than he originally thought it would be. And to top it off security in this complex had become tighter in the past couple of hours. He had to wait and enter the last one when somebody else did. He was running out of time. Getting close to a fourth one he saw somebody else exit and he ran to get in before it closed. “What,” the person inside exclaimed as he stood there. Chatrox attacked him immediately and after a brief struggle knocked him out. And he left him alive just because he was still in disguised as Stevens. Nothing like a little visual conformation of who attacked him.

Again he got the program loaded and ready to go. One more time it asked for a pass code. Taking a deep breath he ran through his now very short list, “Warrior.” The screen flashed red, denied again. “Slag it!” he pounded the console in frustration.

The door opened revealing three members of Stevens’ team, weapons drawn and pointed right at him. The pink one ordered, “Step away from the computer Cap.” He stayed where he was. “Now,” he could see the hesitation in their eyes. The one he knocked out started to stir. He used that hesitation to grab him and use the human as a shield. Grabbing the tech’s weapon he pointed it at his head. “Let him go Cap!”

“I don’t think so,” he sneered. “Now let me pass or I will kill him.”

“You drop him and I swear to God we’ll drop you.”

“But can you really do it?”, he taunted.

The new blue one muttered, “Come on Cap come to your senses.”

“Dan,” the commander walked in despite the other’s protests. “Give me the weapon and let him go. I know somebody did something to you while you were gone. End this now and you have my word I will do everything in my power to help you.”

Chatrox stared at him, he actually thought somebody broke and brainwashed Stevens. This was better than he ever expected or planned on. Unable to hide the smile that was forming he told him, “If you don’t want him to die I suggest you activate the program I have set up.”

“Dan you know I can’t do that.”

“Come on Major,” he said sneering, “surely you don’t want another death under your command.” He relished the reaction that got, especially from pink and yellow one of the original team. “Clock’s ticking Major, either authorize it or I pull the trigger.” They stared each other in the eyes for several moments. Chatrox saw the mixture of emotions in the human’s eyes. He briefly wondered what he saw in his.

“Computer,” he said looking defeated, “Start prepared program. Voice authorization Pierce, Henry, voice code griffin.”

“Authorization confirmed,” the computer announced. Chatrox looked at the screen, because if the size of database it would take at least ten minutes to compress and send. An expected delay, now he just had to get out of here.

“Now all of you are going to let me out of this room.” When they didn’t reply he pressed the barrel against his hostage’s head, “Do it!” Slowly they backed out of the room. Once they were out he forced his hostage out into the hall. Keeping his back to the wall he made sure the hostage was between him and them. Some tried to catch him off guard by coming around a corner but he heard them coming, “Back off!” The commander waved them off. Chatrox realized that hallway led to the command center and to the exit and made his way down toward the door. It opened but before he could check they all heard his voice, but he didn’t open his mouth.

“Computer,” he sneered as he saw Stevens standing there with the alien and his female, “initiate emergency shutdown. Authorization Stevens, Daniel. Voice code,” he smirked a bit, “puss ‘n’ boots.”

“Authorization confirmed.” Almost at once the screens around the room went dark.

“NO!”, he screamed. An emergency shutdown meant every computer program that wasn’t considered essential was immediately stopped and shut down, included his encode of the database.

“I might be a creature of habit,” Stevens began, “but I knew you wouldn’t believe me when I told you.”

***
“Holy shit… Cap?”, Boomer asked. Looking back and forth between the two all he could say was, “Caps?”

“Who’s the real one?”, Target asked.

“This one,” Michelle quickly said pointing toward Dan.

“Are you sure?”, Ace asked her.

“I’d bet my life on it,” she answered.

“Good enough for me,” Ace said as she and the others kept their weapons pointed at the other Dan. He snarled at all of them as he held on to his hostage.

The real Dan stepped forward, “Give it up Chatrox you lost.” Most of those who those who could hear that gasped at the revelation. Realizing it was worthless to keep up the disguise he reverted to his true self. “Surrender now.”

“I don’t think so human,” he shoved his hostage toward Ace. Before they could react he grabbed the Major and held him at gunpoint. “Now undo the lockdown or I will kill him.”

“You kill him and I couldn’t if I wanted to,” Dan told him “We set it up so it could only be overridden if the three members of the senior staff agreed to it. That’s me, Michelle and the Major. It’s over Chatrox just give it up.”

“You’re right about one thing Stevens,” he sneered. “This is over, but I am not giving up.” Suddenly he turned invisible and shoved the Major down.

“Cover the exits,” Dan and Ace both shouted. Everybody spread out while Rev covered the elevator. Dan motioned for everybody to be quiet and looked at Rev who nodded in understanding and listened.

“Over there,” he said pointing to the door leading to the training area. The tech in front of it went flying and the door opened and closed on it’s own. Rev confirmed what he was thinking, “He has left the room.”

Pierce grabbed his StormLicense , “Attention all personnel, there is an intruder on base, repeat there is an intruder on base. The intruder is a shape shifter and can take the form of Captain Stevens. If anybody sees a Captain Stevens detain him immediately.” Dan headed for the training area but the Major stopped him, “Not you Dan.”

“We have to corner him,” he argued.

“And I just gave the order to detain anybody looking like you. You going out there would just cause some confusion we don’t need right now.” Dan didn’t like it but he conceded. “Of course if he stays invisible we’re going to have a different problem entirely.”

“I think we have some thermal scanners,” Target said. “And I know we have some motion detectors.”

“We’ll help you get them,” Ace told her. “Rev, Boomer let’s go.” They were out of the room leaving a very frustrated Dan behind.

He sat down mumbling, “That bastard still has my License.”

“We’ll get it back,” the Major assured him.

“You gave him your pass code?”, Michelle said as she sat next to him.

“I know it was a huge gamble but I knew he wouldn’t believe that was it.”

“That was one hell of a risk,” she told him.

“These ain’t exactly love taps,” he said pointing at the bruises on his face. “I was trying to get him so frustrated he’d give up.”

Michelle shot a look toward the Major. “Don’t be blaming that one on me. I may have taught him back in basic but he came up with that fool plan on his own.”

***
A guard ran down the hall, he went down by an invisible assailant who quickly went on his way. This was getting him nowhere, he was trapped and he needed to think clearly. He was underground and there were only two apparent ways out of here, the ramp in the hanger that led to the garage above and the elevator in the command room. No… SPD would not be that careless with their personal. Which meant… Changing his voice so he sounded like Stevens again he spoke into the human’s license, “Computer, activate emergency exits. Voice authorization Stevens, Daniel. Voice code puss ‘n’ boots.” The wall near him hissed opened revealing a ladder leading up. He grinned, just like he thought.

In the Command Room Dan and the others jumped up and looked around as alarms went off. Going to the door Chatrox used Dan saw one of the emergency exits open up. “He’s going topside!”, he shouted running out before anybody could stop him. Hitting the ladder at a full run he climbed up as fast as his feet could take him. Popping a hatch the opened just outside the cover building he scrambled out and quickly looked around. If he was still invisible… Some tree branches started rustling and there was no real wind, it was him. “Chatrox!”, and he gave chase.

Running through the trees he tried to listen to the rustling ahead of him. He almost reached the field that covered the hanger when something that felt like a boot crashed into his chest. Invisible hands grabbed him by the shirt and threw him into the field. Chatrox materialized still holding his License. “What’s the matter Chatrox, you need my gear to beat me?”

“How easily you forget human,” he sneered. “As I recall I bested you while you were wearing the Dekasuit. So I don’t think I will be needing it, although I do think I will keep it. Not as a souvenir, the less I’m reminded of you the better. Even though I can’t seem to get a hold of the database I know the bosses have been looking on getting their hands on one of these for a long time. It might be enough to get me assigned off this backwater rock. But first I am finally going to deal with you.”

“I was thinking the same thing.” Dan kicked the License out of his hand before he could move. He tackled the Agent to the ground in the next instant. Chatrox’s hands went to his throat the moment after that. Dan quickly broke his grip but the alien grabbed his arms and threw him off. Both of them scrambled to their feet. Circling each other they looked for an opening. Dan went for a kick that Chatrox easily blocked. He launched into a series of strikes that had Dan backing up to avoid. Catching one he tried to flip the Chameleon-seijin over his shoulder. Chatrox twisted in the air and landed on his feet. Eating a backhand Dan dropped to the ground. As soon as he landed he kicked out a leg. The Agent stumbled back as the sole of the human’s boot impacted his stomach. Dan had to deflect a kick aimed at his head as he got to his feet.

Chatrox reached for his boot and pulled out a knife he had hidden there. Slashing away he had Dan backing up right into a tree. Faking a stab with the knife he caught the human off guard with a knee that knocked the breath out of him. Holding him up by the hair he had every intention in plunging the blade right into his skull. Dan grabbed him by the wrist to keep that from happening. Kicking the Agent away he was just able to get away from the tree when he stopped the blade from coming at him again. Chatrox kicked at his leg making him go to a knee. With this new advantage Chatrox was slowly forcing the knife down. “I despised you the moment I saw you,” he spat.

“The feeling mutual,” Dan said through his teeth. Falling back he was able to flip the alien over him. In the next instant he was on the arm holding the knife and forced the hand to open. Instinct made him kick the knife away. Kicking Chatrox down he attempted to stomp his chest but the alien caught his foot and pushed him away. By the time he regained his balance Chatrox had disappeared. Straining his senses he looked for any sign of that damn lizard. Then an invisible fist decked him. Swinging wildly with a backhand he got nothing but air.

“Now what human?”, his voice taunted. He launched a kick where he thought the voice was coming from, again nothing. “No teammates to back you up.” Something poked him in the back Dan swung around while praying to catch something. He got nothing. His breath left him as something slammed into his gut. “No sprinklers to set off revealing where I am.” His head snapped back as an invisible foot kicked him. “How are you going to survive now?” On his knees Dan thought he saw movement out of the corner of his eyes. Some of the blades of grass were moving differently than the others, almost like it was being stepped on. Watching it for a few seconds he thought it looked like somebody was moving. He was desperate at this point. Sweeping his leg out he silently celebrated as he hit something. There was his target and he went after it immediately. Again he was kicked away. As he tried to get back something that felt like an arm wrapped itself around his neck. It squeezed as it picked him up. As he struggled to breathe he heard Chatrox say into his ear, “I have dreamed of this moment Stevens.”

“Keep dreaming,” he grunted. Getting his legs under him Dan pushed back as hard as he could slamming them into a tree. He heard Chatrox grunt in pain but he still held on. Dan kept slamming them into the tree until he felt the pressure lesson on his neck. In that instant he threw Chatrox over his head. Using what strength he had left he slammed his fist like a piledriver into his chest. Chatrox reappeared in the next instant. Stumbling over to his OpLicense he turned back to Chatrox. “I am going to do what they should have done when they caught you the first time.” An energy bolt flew past his head and exploded part of a tree. Dan looked over to see an Igadroid, the same one Chatrox used on him earlier, walk through the trees with an alien rifle in it’s hands.

“Did you really think,” Chatrox sneered, “that I wouldn’t have a way to escape if I had to.” The gun keeping Dan in place Chatrox walked over until he was behind the spike headed robot. “I think of everything.”

“Did you think of this?”, Ace demanded as she and the others joined them in the field. Michelle and the Major were right behind them.

“In fact I did.” Chatrox pulled something off the Igadroid and threw it on the ground. In seconds ten Batsuroids formed, in turn they threw even more grenades that formed a countless number of Anaroids appeared between them.

“Déjà vu,” Boomer said.

“Quite,” Rev agreed.

“I’m ready for a rematch,” Target announced.

“Say the word,” Ace said to Dan. He glanced back at Pierce.

“Major, I know you’re the one in charge….”

“I’ll follow your lead on this one Dan,” he said knowing where he was going. “Besides this looks like an emergency and a special situation to me.”

“My thoughts exactly,” Michelle said.

Dan nodded and looked through the crowd toward Chatrox and the Igadroid. “Change standby.” The others took out their respective Licenses and held them across their chest, “Emergency!”

Pulling their OpsLicense back they pushed them forward and the five of them shouted, “DekaOps!”

Michelle was right there with “DekaData!”

The Major finished it with, “DekaStorm!”

Dan was surrounded by a red digital field as the Dekametal formed around his body in a flash of white light. It changed into black body suit in a burst. A dark red stripe went down the middle of his body from his shoulders to the top of his boots, on the left side of his chest the red and black formed the outline for a number one. A backpack solidified on his back and the D-Shot appeared in a flash. "Face on!", Dekametal flashed over his head and formed a dark red helmet. “Ops1!”

Target was surrounded by a blue digital field as the Dekametal formed around her body in a flash of white light. It changed into black body suit in a burst. A dark blue stripe went down the middle of her body from her shoulders to the top of her boots, on the left side of her chest the blue and black formed the outline for a number two. A backpack solidified on her back and the D-Shot appeared in a flash. "Face on!", Dekametal flashed over her head and formed a dark blue helmet. “Ops2!”

Rev was surrounded by a green digital field as the Dekametal formed around his body in a flash of white light. It changed into black body suit in a burst. A dark green stripe went down the middle of his body from his shoulders to the top of his boots, on the left side of his chest the green and black formed the outline for a number three. A backpack solidified on his back and the D-Shot appeared in a flash. "Face on!", Dekametal flashed over his head and formed a dark green helmet. “Ops3!”

Boomer was surrounded by a yellow digital field as the Dekametal formed around his body in a flash of white light. It changed into black body suit in a burst. A dark yellow stripe went down the middle of his body from his shoulders to the top of his boots, on the left side of his chest the yellow and black formed the outline for a number four. A backpack solidified on his back and the D-Shot appeared in a flash. "Face on!", Dekametal flashed over his head and formed a dark yellow helmet. “Ops4!”

Ace was surrounded by a pink digital field as the Dekametal formed around her body in a flash of white light. It changed into black body suit in a burst. A dark pink stripe went down the middle of her body from her shoulders to the top of her boots, on the left side of her chest the blue and black formed the outline for a number five. A backpack solidified on her back and the D-Shot appeared in a flash. "Face on!", Dekametal flashed over her head and formed a dark pink helmet. “Ops5!”

Michelle was surrounded by a white digital field as the Dekametal formed around her in a flash of light. In a burst it formed a black and white version of the DekaSwan suit. A backpack with two cylinders on both sides appeared on her back as a ten button keypad flashed on her left forearm. "Face on!", Dekametal flashed around her head forming a white helmet. Michelle held her left arm in front of her chest, "Officer of the information highway," she swung her left arm back and shot her right fist foreword, "DekaData!"

Pierce was surrounded by a black digital field as he threw off the command coat. Dekametal formed around him transforming into a jet black bodysuit. It flashed again forming red armor around his feet, shins, knees, elbow and hands. Finalizing into blood red chest armor as a black one hundred burned into it. “Face on!”, A red helmet shaped like an army helmet appeared around his head. A fire started burning behind him as he brought his hand to his chest, “Striking down a hundred enemies from the shadows. The bringer of hell on Earth.” He brought the arm down in a slashing movement making the flames grow higher. “Soldier of the Inferno, DekaStorm!”

“Special Police!” One by one the lights on the side of their helmets flashed to life. As one they exclaimed, “DekaOps!”

“Kill them,” Chatrox ordered.

“You know what to do,” Dan said. Both groups ran toward each other.

Ace ran in front of Target firing her D-Shooter. She stopped to let Target jump off her shoulder. She flipped in the air and shot down at the bots as she landed. She quickly turned around and the both of them fired at the ones between them. Quickly turning she kicked a Batsuroid in the head while Ace took out a couple coming at her. Target spun out of the way of one trying to grab her and shot the one behind it. Kicking her attacker down Ace ran toward her and jumped off her outstretched leg. Shooting the bots when she landed Ace turned and did the same for Target who spun in the air and shot in a circle around Ace. The moment she landed they were back to back. “Too flashy?”, she asked

“Do I look like Cap?”, Ace told her.

To their left a group with some rifles came at them. Michelle burst through and got between them, “Barrier shield.” Spreading her arms wide an energy field protected them from the onslaught. After a few seconds she said, “Anytime you two.” Ace and Target stepped to the side of the field and fired away. Dropping the field the three of them kicked a Batsuroid coming at them.

“Where were you the last time we went through this?”, Ace asked Michelle.

“You didn’t take me,” she reminded her.

Boomer got kicked in the back while he was concentrating on group that was in front of him. Rev was right there to keep him from falling. Getting his footing Boomer spun and unleashed a right hook that floored the bot. Shaking the pain out of his fist he watched as Rev took out an Anaroid with his D-Rod. “I am really getting tired of this,” Boomer said to nobody in particular.

Rev responded anyway, “As am I Robert.” A group tried to attack them at once. They fought them off as more bots joined in. They forced their way out. A lone Anaroid came at them. Boomer slapped something on it’s back right before Rev tossed it into the group that attacked them. Standing there Boomer held up his left hand revealing a button detonator. The Batsuroids and Anaroids looked down to see the bomb on their comrade’s back. Waving bye-bye with his right he hit the trigger. The bomb exploded taking the Anaroid it was attached to while taking out or disabling the others around it.

Boomer grinned to himself, “That never get’s old.”

A large group of the bots seemed to target the Major. At that moment he was proving that was a mistake on their part. A Batsuroid went flying then he punched an Anaroid in the face. “D-Sword Blaster!” Grabbing the handle at his side the straps tightened around his forearm, “Gun mode,” two barrels popped out of the handle. He blasted them mainly to keep some space between him and them. A few were able to get through. He backed away trying not to think about how long his leg was going to hold up. A few were getting too close while he took more out. “Sword mode,” the barrels retracted and the blade underneath his forearm swung up and extended a bit. Slashing away he struck down those that were too close for comfort.

“Time to weed things out a bit,” he mumbled. Holding his arm to the side the area went dark slightly as a fire started to grow behind him. Once he felt it at his heels he ran forward, “Fire wave slash!” The blade glowed as he ran through the bots slashing away. Once he came to a stop things brightened and the bots exploded or fell to the ground sparking. He put all his weight on his good leg as he held his bad one. Damn it not now.

Rev appeared out of nowhere to offer some support while Boomer covered them with his D-Shot. “Careful Major,” Rev said, “despite the situation exerting yourself to such an extent…”

“I still have plenty of gas in the tank,” he said.

“Major,” Rev continued.

“Rev,” Boomer cut in between shots, “it’s not a good idea to argue with the man who can demote you in a second.”

“Don’t threaten Rev,” the Major told him. “That’s my job.”

Dan was doing everything to get to that back of the pack. Kicking aside any Anaroid or batsuroid in his way. A bot grabbed him but a point blank shot from the D-Colt took care of that. Finally he broke through and saw the Igadroid standing there pointing the rifle right at him. Target shot it’s wrist making it drop the rifle. “Got your back Cap,” she said before returning her attention to the rest of the bots. Dan rolled the shoulder it targeted during those interrogations and holstered his D-Colt. Reaching into his pack he pulled out his D-Knife and D-Rod as he walked toward it. The Igadroid did the same walking over the rifle.

They went right at each other, the Igadroid trying to connect with it’s cross blade, Dan blocking as best he could while trying to slash at whatever robotic body part he could. The bot knew he wasn’t at a hundred percent from his captivity and kept up the pressure. Logically it was targeting the shoulder it worked on during that time. Realizing this he did his best to keep that shoulder out of harm’s way. During their dance some of the techs entered the field and helped take care of the bots. The Igadroid increased it’s attacks seeing the new development. It slashed a little too hard with the cross blade. Dan was able to duck under and pop right back up. A yell powered from his frustration of being captured and tortured escaped his throat as he plunged the D-Knife between it’s eyes. Dan held on to the handle as he stared into it’s electronic eyes. Letting go of the handle the Igadroid dropped to the ground.

Looking around he saw the others and the techs had the bots under control. Then he saw Chatrox trying to get away. A shot fired over his head stopped him. “Is this how it’s going to end Stevens? A shot to my back?”

“After D.E and Tony died because of you I wouldn’t lose a wink of sleep if I did. But I’m better than that,” and he holstered his weapon.

“Then what?”, he turned around to face him. “Are you going to take some pleasure in pummeling me personally?”

“Tempting,” Dan said crossing his arms, “but I think I’ll let them have a shot at you.” Ace and Target jumped over him and landed a double punch to Chatrox’s chest.

He stumbled back as Ace told him, “That’s for D.E.” Boomer and Rev leaped over them landing a double kick that knocked him back further.

“That’s for Cap’s friend,” Boomer said.

“And for betraying SPD!” He turned around to see the Major come up behind him. A swing from his blade knocked him into the air.

Michelle jumped off Dan’s shoulder and right at the Agent. “Electro kick!”, she practically stomped Chatrox chest in while they were in the air. He jolted with each electrified foot. He crashed on the ground as she landed on her feet. “And that’s for capturing Dan.”

The regrouped at his side as he walked forward as Chatrox tried to get to his feet, OpsLicense in hand. “Selling illegal substances and weapons to known criminals. Twice trying to steal the SPD database. Being an accessory in the deaths of two SPD officers.” While he talked his thumb switched the License to Judge. “If we don’t get the result I know we should get I will turn in my badge. Target orders!”

The area went dark s the License flipped open. Between them the red X and blue circle flashed as Chatrox was scanned. After a minute the red x remained. Chatrox sneered while as neutrally as he could Dan said, “Eliminate target.” They unlatched their D-Shots and locked in their OpsLicense. The Major returned his weapon to gun mode. Michelle typed in a command on the keypad and got to a knee as the cylinders on her back flipped forward. Boomer and Rev joined her as the rest stood behind them.

“Burning shot!”

“Datablast!”

“Strikeout!”, Dan shouted. The combined energy streams hit Chatrox all at once. He writhed in pain as the energy tore him up from the inside out. Dan turned and walked away as he fell back and exploded, deleting him. “Got you,” he said as the rest followed him.

***
A couple of days later Dan and Michelle stood in front of a door waiting for somebody to answer their knock. “Are you sure about this?”, Michelle asked him.

“You told me what happened when they saw Chatrox,” he answered. “There are very few people in this world I don’t want to alienate. Especially when it wasn’t my fault.” The door opened and Barry and Paula stood there. He saw the uncertainty in their eyes. “Hi,” was all he could say.

“Are you sure it’s you?”, Barry asked.

“According to her,” he said gesturing toward Michelle. “And she’s done several personal inspections.”

“Based on the look she just gave him,” Paula said, “I’d say it’s really him.”

“A shape shifter?”, Barry asked as they let them in.

“It’s a long story,” he said. “I’ll fill you in later, but we’re kind of pressed for time. I just had to make sure he didn’t do anything to you guys.”

“We’re fine,” Paula said. “We didn’t know what the hell was going on when we saw you… eh… him. He’s not still around is he?”

“He’s been,” he started to say, “dealt with.”

“Not soon enough,” Michelle mumbled. She looked over and saw Dani standing at the foot of the staircase. She looked frightened and that just tore Dan up inside.

Not sure what else to do he smiled and said, “Hey munchkin.”

Dani broke out into a big grin after a moment and ran toward him, “Uncle Danny!” She wrapped her arms around his leg, “It’s really you this time.”

Picking up his Goddaughter he said, “I heard you saw a guy who looked like me.”

“He called me a brat and looked mean,” she said. Dan was very glad they got the son of a bitch. “You’re not mean.”

“Trust me kiddo, you’re not going to see that mean guy ever again,” he told her. “And you are not talking to anybody in my unit.” Both Barry and Michelle stifled a chuckle. “Quiet,” he warned them.

“Dan,” Michelle said while pointing at her watch.

“Right, I hate to cut this short but we have to go.”

“Already,” Danielle whined as he put her down.

“Can’t be helped,” he said. “I’ll be back as soon as I can.” Paula hugged both of them as Dan shook Barry’s hand.

“And it better real be soon,” Barry told him.

“You know it.”

***
A couple of hours later all of them were on the orbital station in the upper hanger. Dan, Michelle, Ace and the other all stood in line. A very proud looking Major stood by the side. Joining him was Meng Yeow, Gyoc Row and Commander Trytan. They watched as Commander Numa-O and Scorp pinned medals on their uniforms. “For protecting the integrity of SPD,” Numa-O said, “and protecting our ability in being affective force in protecting the innocents of the universe it is our pleasure and honor to present you with these medals. All I ask is that you perform you duties as you have been, above and beyond all our expectations.”

“You have preformed amicably,” Scorp said through his translator. “I am proud of all of you.”

As one they saluted the two of them. They returned it. Dan stepped forward and turned smartly to face his team. “DekaOps, dismissed.”They turned to the left and marched out of the hanger. Once they were out of sight they started celebrating.

“Captain Stevens,” Scorp said as he, Pierce and Michelle saw them off. “I must confess I doubted your selection when Major Pierce recommended you. To be honest my instinct said to reject you. This was one of the few times my instincts weren’t correct.”

“That’s the closest you’re going to get to a compliment from him,” Trytan told him with a smile. “I said it before Captain, it’s a good thing you stayed with this unit. This is right were you belong.”

“I couldn’t have done any of it without my team with me,” Dan told him.

“I don’t think he gets that modesty from you Henry,” Meng Yeow joked as they stood to the side.

“I’m sure I don’t know what you’re talking about,” the Major told him.

“And how many times have you said you trained him personally?”, Row laughed.

“They had to get that good somehow didn’t they?”

Near the back Ace and the others watched. Boomer looked like he was thinking something over. “Hey Ace, when Cap said they needed the senior staff to get the computers going again he said the three of them. Aren’t you senior staff too?”

“Chatrox didn’t know that,” she answered. “Besides he didn’t want to give up his ‘Ace’ in the hole,” she smirked.

“That was bad,” Target said. Rev nodded in agreement. Ace waved them off.

“Oh Captain,” Trytan spoke up, “Commander Mynx sends his best wishes. He wanted to be here personally but he had some new recruits to the program he needs to take care of.”

“I understand,” Dan told him. “Tell him I wish his recruit luck. They’re going to need it.”

“I’ll do that,” Trytan chuckled. “Come on Scorp, SPD isn’t going to run itself.” They boarded the shuttle while Meng Yeow and Row took the one headed for Earth.

“We’ll see you at the next meeting Henry,” Meng Yeow said. They saluted each other and both shuttles left the hanger.

“Well I do believe there’s a party going on somewhere,” the Major said afterwards. “You guys coming or are you going to wait.”

“I’ll wait until she gets here,” Dan told him.

He nodded and walked away. Michelle on the other hand, “Who is she and why are you waiting for her?”

“The who you’ll find out soon enough,” he answered. “As to why… let’s say I’m calling in Hawaii.”

“That’s my favor,” she protested. “You can’t do that.”

“I just did.”

“And what makes you think you can do that?”

“One, I never wanted that favor. Two, I never called you out about lying on why we stayed over so technically you owed me. And three,” he pulled a pair of tickets out of his pocket, “I need somebody to go with me.”

“Hawaii?”, she gasped reading the ticket. “Consider it paid in full. But it still doesn’t explain who you’re waiting for.”

Dan looked out the hanger field as saw a shuttle coming in, “That should be her now.” They watched as it landed and the occupant walked out.

“Captain,” Drilian said, “I appreciate the opportunity you have given me to right my wrong against you.”

Ignoring the look Michelle was giving him he told her, “Yeah no problem. Remember what I told you, even though you’re filling in for me Ace is the one in charge while I’m gone.”

“I will follow Ace’s commands to the letter Captain,” she told him. “But what if we are not called to duty?”

“You’re still watching my team for me. That will be good enough.”

“Of course Captain,” she said. “Please excuse me, I must report my arrival to Major Pierce.”

After she left all Michelle could say was, “You didn’t?”

“You’ve seen how many times she’d messaged me,” he said trying to defend his action, “wanting to make up for spying, her words not mine, on me during that mission. If I can help ease her conscious in some way I’m doing it.”

“You’re hanging around Boomer too much,” she told him.

“That’s hitting below the belt.”

“You deserved it. You told the Major before you told me?”

“I had to get us some time off somehow didn’t I?”

“Cap,” Ace and the others ran back in, “we just got a call from OpsBase. Something is going on in Brazil.”

“I’ll link up with Base from here,” Michelle said. “I’ll fill you in what’s going on planet side on the way there.”

“Right,” Dan said. “Let’s go people. Drilian we might need the extra help so come along.”

“I am at your command Captain,” she said joining them.

“No rest for the wicked,” Boomer commented.

“That may be true for you Robert, but what about the rest of us?”, Rev asked.

“Did Rev just crack on me again?”

“You’re an easy target,” Target told him.

“Told you so,” Ace smirked.

“After the mission,” Dan reminded. Hitting the elevator Dan asked them, “You guys ready?” The four of them made a gun shooting motion with their hand as they passed him. Drilian looked confused by the action. Dan smiled to himself as he got in and the door closed. No matter what they still had a job to do.


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ED – Evanescence – Whisper
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