The Mr. Nightcrawler Trilogy: Book I

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  1. Nightcrawler

    Nightcrawler Member

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    12, part two

    Through the darkness, we silently made our way across the snow-covered pasture. The few cows that were around didn’t seem to mind our presence. What had earlier been a gentle breeze had turned into an icy north wind, but this too worked in our favor. The wind covered the sounds of our approach, and brought with it cloud cover. The night was dark and the sky was overcast.

    The team was spread out into a wide ‘V’ formation, with myself on point. Corwin was behind me and well to my right. Jeff was opposite him on my left. Farther back and farther out on each side were Michel and Shen, and directly behind me, (though more than a few meters distant) was Ling. I was wearing a heavy pair of Russian night vision goggles that Ling had provided me with, as were Corwin and Jeff. To me, the night was lit up in a sea of green light, and I could see the farm house glaring through the trees, some three-quarters of a mile distant.

    I paused momentarily, breathing heavier than I’d expected. I looked back at my friends, and they seemed to be experiencing the same thing. Damn we were out of shape! I smiled silently to myself, shook my head, and then continued onward. My thoughts were interrupted by radio chatter. It was just our three snipers and the machine gun team telling us that they were in place and standing by.

    “Alpha One copies,” I heard Ling say, her voice distinctive over the radio.

    “Bravo One copies,” Ibrahim said then. His team was on the other side of the farm, approaching from the opposite direction.

    “Echo Team, this is Alpha One,” Ling said then, whispering over the radio, “Can you give us an update?”

    “Roger,” the Echo Team sniper said. I was surprised to hear a woman’s voice, with a thick Russian accent. “There are many vehicles present. I see one small truck, probably security patrol, returning from the back fields. The yard around the house is well lit, but there is an outbuilding to the east. If you approach from behind that, you will have cover…” She then let fly a Russian expletive that I didn’t understand.

    “Status?” Ibrahim said.

    “There are two targets leaving the farm house. Target one is great huge fat man in a white suit, target two is a skinny woman in a tuxedo, carrying a poodle.”

    “Woman?” Ibrahim said.

    “Uh…negative,” the Echo sniper said. “I was wrong, is not woman, is man with poodle. Do I have permission to engage?”

    “Do they have a captive with them?” Ling asked, tension obvious in her voice.

    “Negative. Is just two men. They’re heading for a vehicle.”

    “Hold fire, Echo Team,” Ling said. “We’re not close enough yet. Let them go.”

    “Roger,” the Echo sniper said, disappointment obvious in her voice. “Is your lucky day you bastards.” We all smiled at that, and continued on.

    “Alpha One, Alpha Six,” I said, a few minutes later. “There’s a drainage ditch or something perpendicular to us, about thirty meters ahead. The far bank is steep, looks like a dirt road crossing the property. We’ve got a vehicle approaching from the South. It’s a ways off, but it’s on the road. We should take cover in the ditch.”

    “Agreed,” Ling said. “Everyone move as quickly as you can, get to that ditch and get down. Move!” With that, we all took off running. A few moments later I slid down into the ditch. The little bit of water at the bottom was frozen; the far bank was steep, and taller than the near one. The road was built up slightly higher than the property it crossed, probably in case of flooding. I looked up, peering over the surface of the road. My heart dropped into my stomach when I realized that the approaching truck was a hell of a lot closer than I’d thought. The night vision goggles had distorted my depth perception.

    “Alpha Team! Danger close!” I hissed into my radio. “Everybody get down!” Corwin and Jeff had just made it into the ditch, a few meters away on either side of me, but the others went prone into the field and laid still.

    My heart was racing as the vehicle, a Jeep, drew close. Its headlights blinded my night vision goggles, so I slid them up on my head and blinked. I could feel my heart pounding in my ears as the vehicle slowly passed us by, from left to right. Then it stopped. ****.

    The Jeep was now a few meters to my right, on the road above me, between Corwin and I. Illuminated in its bright headlights was a large black and white dairy cow. The cow was standing in the road, blocking it, and didn’t seem terribly inclined to move. The Jeep honked its horn several times, but the cow ignored it and kept chewing its cud.

    I heard doors slam as two men got out of the Jeep and approached the stubborn bovine. A swath of obscenities rolled through my mind.

    “Matthew,” I said into my radio, as quietly as I possibly could, “I’m going to cut around the back of the jeep. On my signal, you take the guy closer to you. I’ll circle around and get the other guy. Copy?”

    “Mm-hmm,” was Corwin’s only reply. The two men were practically on top of him, and he didn’t want to make any more noise than necessary. I closed my eyes for a moment. I felt my senses seem to sharpen, and my heart rate slowed. I calmly unsnapped my rifle sling, and silently laid my FAL down in a way that would prevent the muzzle from getting dirt in it. I then, ever so slowly, crawled up the bank of the ditch, feeling out each inch of dirt beneath me.

    “MOO-OO-OO!” One of the frustrated men yelled at the cow. The cow replied with a moo if its own, and continued chewing.

    “****ing cow!” the other man said. “I’m going to shoot the damned thing!”

    “Better not,” the first man said. “You heard the boss. No shots unless necessary.” As I crept around the back of the jeep, illuminated in the red glow of the tail lights, I noticed that each man was wearing green fatigue pants, a black fleece, and had a stubby G36K assault rifle slung across his back. Neither had his weapon ready, and both men were facing away from me. I made my way around the jeep, and up the driver’s side, stopping by the vehicle’s side-view mirror. I was as close as I was going to get. I reached to the right shoulder of my harness and unsnapped the long SRK fighting knife there. I flipped the knife in my hand, holding it point-down, and whispered into my radio.

    “Now.” Corwin didn’t hesitate. A dark shape appeared behind the man to my right, who was closest to the ditch. A thin strand of wire briefly flashed in the glow of the headlights, then snapped around the man’s neck. He gurgled, reached for his throat, and then disappeared as Corwin dragged him down into the ditch.

    The man to my left saw this at the last instant, but it was too late for him as well. His concentration was on the darkness as he frantically tried to bring his weapon around. He didn’t see me approach from his five o’ clock position.

    My right hand, clad in a leather glove, reached around, covered his mouth, and pulled his head back. My left hand brought the knife around, and before the man could really struggle, plunged it downward into this throat. He dropped his rifle, tried to scream and began to thrash, but his screams came out only as bloody gurgles, and I wasn’t letting go. I pushed the knife deeper into him, and his thrashing caused me to lose my footing. We felt to the road together, with him landing on top of me. He continued to thrash and squirm; I pulled the knife out and jammed it into him again, then again, then a third time. Finally, he went limp, and I pushed him off of me.

    Standing up, I realized that I had blood all over the front of my armor and on my sleeves. Cursing to myself, I wiped my blade off on the dead man’s jacket and re-sheathed it.

    Stepping over to the Jeep, I turned off the headlights and cut the engine. Looking around for anything useful, I grabbed the guards’ radio, figuring it’d help us keep track of what they were doing.

    “Clear,” I whispered into my microphone as I slid back down into the ditch to retrieve my rifle. We formed back up and were once again on our way.

    “Nicely done, Mr. Valentine,” I heard an unfamiliar voice say over the radio. I realized a moment later that it was Shen, and that that was the first time I’d heard him speak. “It seems that wherever you walk, death follows.” I grinned in the darkness.

    “Everybody’s good at something.” Sometimes it bothers me that killing is the only thing I seem to excel at.

    “Quiet now,” Ling said, all business. “We’re almost there.”
     
    Last edited: Apr 2, 2007
  2. Nightcrawler

    Nightcrawler Member

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    12, part three

    Lifting the night vision goggles off of my head again, I peered around the corner of the large outbuilding that we were now stacked behind. The courtyard of the farm house was brightly lit, wide open, and filled with cars.

    Only a few people and a couple armed guards were visible, though. There was one guard on a balcony with a scoped rifle of some kind, and another patrolled the courtyard with a G36. Two more, these two in suits and sunglasses, stood on either side of the house’s double front doors. Jeff and Corwin had checked the out-building we were hidden behind. It contained nothing but lawn equipment.

    “This is Bravo One. We’re in position,” Ibrahim said.

    “Copy that. Alpha Team in position,” Ling said.

    “Charlie Team ready,” our machine gun crew said.

    “Delta Team ready,” one of the SVD-equipped snipers said.

    “Echo Team ready,” said the female Russian sniper.

    “Fox Team ready,” the sniper team to the rear of the house replied.

    “Alpha One copies,” Ling said.

    “Hang on a sec,” I said, interrupting.

    “What is it?” she asked, obviously irritated. I retrieved the deceased guard’s radio from my belt.

    “Anybody got some tape?” Ling looked puzzled as Jeff handed me a spool of electrical tape. I first put four layers of tape over the radio’s microphone. I then wadded some tape up into a ball, and placed it over the radio’s transmit button. I then wrapped tape around the radio multiple times, causing the transmit button to be held down.

    “It’ll tie up their whole damn battle-net, since they probably don’t have a central transmitter that can overpower this one hand-held. They won’t be able to communicate.” Ling flashed me a devilish grin, and keyed her microphone again.

    “God be with us…weapons free! Open fire!” There was a grim finality in her voice. I leaned back around the corner and brought my rifle up. I centered the red dot of my Aimpoint on the upper chest of the guard carrying the assault rifle. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw the head of the guard on the balcony explode in a red cloud an and instant before the report of the Dragunov rifle could be heard. As his body flopped over the railing and fell, I squeezed my rifle’s trigger. My FAL barked loudly, and the G36-carrying guard screamed as my bullet impacted him between the shoulder blades. He fell to the ground and I put a second round into him. I turned back to my teammates. Ling was now right behind me, eyes as black as the night.

    “Let’s go!” I brought my weapon up and bounded into the courtyard. Our team was to clear the main house. Ibrahim’s team was to clear the smaller secondary house to the west, then proceed into the main house once that was finished. But for a few minutes, we’d be on our own in there.

    It didn’t bother me though. At that moment, nothing bothered me. There was nothing but the chaos around me and the calm within me. There was only the mission, and the excited, but professional chatter I could hear over my radio. As I dashed across the courtyard, making for the cover of a row of parked cars, I opened fire on the two guards at the door. They were now crouched down, pistols drawn. Ling opened fire on them as well, letting off short bursts from her compact assault rifle. Your accuracy is never that great when firing at a full run, though, and I don’t know which of us hit the guard, but one of them went down. The other stood up, and frantically tried to get the door open, before two holes exploded in his back nearly simultaneous. It seemed that both of our snipers had gotten the same idea.

    I leaned around the front bumper of the car I was using for cover. It was a gaudy thing, a yellow Ford Mustang. The driver’s side door was open, and the engine was running. The driver was in the front seat, slumped over the steering wheel. There was a hole in the windshield, and most of the driver’s brains seemed to be in the back seat. It was a gruesome sight.

    I then noticed to people huddling behind a car in front of us, a man and a woman. The man was wearing a tuxedo, and the woman was wearing some kind of evening gown, but with thigh-high leather bondage boots. Both were wearing leather masks of some kind.

    What the ****…? I startled as Ling cut them down with a burst of automatic fire.

    “They were here to make a purchase, Michael. Trust me.” She then turned around, and flashed an arm signal. Jeff and Corwin scrambled forward, as Ling and I used our weapons to cover the entrance to the house. My two friends were making like mad for the corner of the house, about thirty meters to our right. Once they got there, Jeff flashed a thumbs-up to Ling. She then used another arm signal, and Shen and Michel came running up to our left, taking cover behind a parked SUV about ten meters from us. Just as they hit the dirt, a shooter appeared on the balcony where the sniper had been standing. He leveled his weapon and fired a burst at us, his rounds tearing up the trunk of the Mustang and shattering the back window. Before we could return fire, a stream of tracers came from the woods, and the shooter was torn apart by the PKM machine gun that was covering us. His body seemed to smolder as he fell back into the house amongst a shower of broken glass from the door behind him.

    Ling looked over at me, and I nodded at her. We stood up, and scrambled forward again. Sporadic gunfire could be heard coming from the secondary house as Ibrahim’s team cleared it, but the thing I could hear most clearly was the pounding of my own heart as I ran.

    Just then, another Jeep came flying around the far corner of the house, with four guards in it. The guard in the passenger’s seat had his rifle out the window, and was firing wildly at us. I pushed Ling to the ground just as we came to another parked car, and brought my weapon up. I began to fire as fast as I could; an instant later, another stream of green tracers tore into the Jeep. Corwin opened up on the Jeep, as did Michel and Shen. The windows shattered, and the Jeep ignited. I guessed that the PKM was equipped with some incendiary ammunition.

    “LOOK OUT!” I screamed at Ling, and ducked down. The Jeep, traveling at probably thirty miles an hour and on fire, smashed into the car we were using as cover. The car’s windows shattered, and it lurched towards us, but we were uninjured. I popped up over the hood, rifle leveled at the Jeep. It was on fire now, as the gas tank had ignited. The guard in the rear right-hand seat opened his door. He got out, engulfed in flames, and slowly walked away. He made it three steps before falling to his knees. He flopped to the ground, burning. I looked away.

    Looking down at my rifle, I realized that my bolt was locked back. I removed the magazine, discarded it, then retrieved a fresh one from my load bearing vest. Chambering a round, I looked down at Ling.

    “You okay?”

    “I’m fine,” she said. “We have to move.”

    “Yeah. Alpha Six, moving!”

    “Gotcha covered!” Corwin replied over the radio. Ling and I scrambled to our feet and dashed for the front door of the palatial farm house while Michel and Shen moved to the position that we’d just left. Once we made it to the porch, Ling ran to the left side of the doors, and I ran to the right. She waved at Michel and Shen, and they came running up and stacked behind her. A moment later, Corwin and Jeff were there, and they stacked behind me.

    I looked around. The courtyard looked like a warzone. The dozen or so cars that were parked there had mostly been shot to pieces, the Jeep continued to burn, and there were several bodies scattered here and there. Shaking my head, I returned my attention to the doors.

    “You ready?” I asked Ling.

    “I am. Prepare to breach!” she yelled for the benefit of the entire team. Corwin shifted his M4 to his left hand as I ducked, moved forward, and tried the door.

    “It’s locked.”

    “Not a problem,” Michel said, stepping forward. He removed a large makeshift breaching charge from a pouch on his vest, and stuck it to the doors, right above the locks. The charge was nothing more than half a block of C4 with adhesive on it. From that, he ran a strand of det-cord down, right where the doors met, and connected this to his shock-tube. At the end of the shock-tube, he connected his initiator, and we all moved back, around the corners.

    “Fire in the hole,” he said, pulling the ring on his initiator. The concussion was deafening, and rattled the fillings in my teeth. Taking a deep breath, I shouldered my rifle, and leaned back around the corner.
     
  3. Nightcrawler

    Nightcrawler Member

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    12, part four

    The doors had been blown to splinters. The spacious foyer of the farm house was filled with smoke, and people could be heard shouting and screaming. There were sets of stairs on either side of the room, that curved upward to the second level. On the second level, behind a railing, there were six armed men. Another man in a suit and sunglasses lay on the floor, smoldering. It seemed he’d been caught in the blast. The moment I leaned around the corner I had to duck back, as the shooters on the second level opened up on us. They couldn’t hit us, but continued to fire, their rounds tearing up the porch deck just outside of the doorway.

    “We need grenades!” I yelled at Ling. I removed one from my belt, looked at Michel, and he nodded. I tossed it to him, then removed another one. We both pulled the pins, but held the spoons down. “Ready!” I said. Corwin moved in front of me, looked at Ling, and they nodded at each other. Simultaneously they leaned in the doorway, firing towards the upper level on full auto.

    “FRAG UP!” I yelled, leaning in an throwing the grenade up as hard as I could. Michel did the same, but his grenade was moving a lot faster than mine. I didn’t wait to see where they landed, for as soon as the grenades were out of our hands the four of us ducked back out of the doorway. Corwin and Ling both used this brief pause to change magazines.

    The night was again shattered as the two grenades detonated. An instant later, Corwin and Ling burst into the room, weapons up and firing on full auto. Michel and I followed, also laying suppressing fire on the upper level. The guards remaining there were caught off guard, and were torn apart by weapons fire.

    An instant later, Jeff and Shen entered the room. Shen went left, and Jeff went right, covering doors on either side of the room. For a brief instant, it was strangely quiet. A moment later, the huge crystal chandelier hanging from the ceiling fell to the floor, landing on the dead man there, and shattered into a thousand pieces.

    Taking a breath, I pulled the magazine out of my rifle. It had rounds left in it, but not many. I let it fall to the floor, and reached for my vest. Before I could get the pouch open, the doors in front of us, at the far end of the room, burst open. Two guards were there, weapons held at the low ready.

    They were apparently not expecting six armed people on the other side.
    Reacting as fast as the calm would let me, I twisted slightly and let go of my rifle. It swung down on the sling as my left hand shot to the butt of my revolver. As I pulled the weapon up, I quickly moved to the left. I got off one shot before the two men were cut down by fire from three automatic weapons.

    Holy ****, I thought. That was too close! Taking another breath, I re-holstered the .44 and grabbed my rifle. I rocked the magazine into place. I took a moment to look over everyone.

    “Everybody okay?” I asked. Everyone nodded while Ling spoke into her microphone.

    “Ibrahim, what’s your status?”

    “We’ve just finished clearing this building. Light resistance. I am wounded, but not badly so. We found two captives, both mobile, and told them to head down the road.”

    “This is Charlie Team,” our machine gunners chimed in, “those two captives just came up to our position.”

    “Roger,” Ling said. “Van drivers, come up the road and stand by. Bravo Team, I need you to come to the main house. We’ve secured the foyer and will wait for you. The house is large. I need you to clear the upper levels while we head into the basement. Quickly now, this is taking too long!”

    “Yes, my lady!” Ibrahim replied, and Ling almost blushed. Despite the carnage around me, I had to smile at that. Within moments, Ibrahim’s team was in the foyer with us. Ibrahim himself had a bandage around his right leg, and was limping, but it didn’t deter him. He and Ling briefly discussed their plan. The doorway to our right led downstairs, into the basement, and that was where we were going. Ibrahim’s team would clear the first, then the second floor of the house.

    Within moments, we were stacked up on the door that led to the basement. Jeff was to my left, and Corwin was behind me. Reaching out with my right hand, I pulled the door open.

    “****!” I yelled, and ducked back so quickly I slipped and fell. Chunks of the plaster above me broke off and fell to the floor in clouds of dust as bullets stitched across the ceiling. Before I could recover, Jeff and Corwin leaned in the door. Corwin let off a short burst from his M4, while Jeff’s shotgun roared three times. They were answered with more automatic weapons fire and had to duck back out of the way.

    “**** THIS!” I said, rolling to my left. I reached to my belt and grabbed my last grenade. “FRAG UP!” I pulled the pin, and tossed it down the stairs. I heard a muffled shout from the room below, then the lights flickered as the grenade detonated. Immediately following up, Corwin and Jeff moved down the stairs, weapons at the ready. I rolled out of the way as Shen and Michel followed them. Ling helped me up.

    I heard commotion and gunfire from the bottom of the stairs. Looking over Shen’s shoulder, I saw Corwin and Jeff leaning around the corner at the bottom. There was a large landing down there, and it looked like it led into a larger room. Finally, both of my friends yelled clear and we made our way down the stairs, Ling and I pointing our weapons upward to cover our rear.

    The room at the bottom of the stairs was a furnished sitting room of some kind. There was a bar on one side, stocked with dozens of broken bottles of booze. Four more guards, one of them wearing a suit, lay on the floor in puddles of blood. Corwin changed magazines and Jeff was thumbing rounds into his shotgun while covering someone.

    The man that Jeff had his weapon pointed at was crouched on the floor, with his hands in the air. He was wearing a tuxedo and some kind of weird masquerade mask, with feathers and crap coming off of it.

    “P…p…please!” he stammered. “I’m unarmed! I…”

    “BE QUIET” Michel boomed as he entered the room. “Make your peace.” He leveled his stubby assault rifle at the man and fired a six-round burst into him. The 7.62mm bullets exploded out of the masked man’s back, and he crumpled to the floor. Jeff seemed stunned for a moment. Corwin shrugged.

    “No prisoners,” Michel said. Jeff nodded slowly, then looked over at me. I could only mimic Corwin’s shrug.

    “How long?” Ling asked.

    “Fourteen minutes, Ma’am,” Shen responded. Ling cursed in Chinese.

    “We’ve been here too long. We need to finish this and get out of here. Let’s go.” Muffled gunfire could be heard resonating from the upper levels as Ibrahim’s team went about their ugly task.

    “Which way?” Corwin asked. There were three doors leading out of the sitting room. The one to our left, which was parallel to the staircase, was the most likely candidate, and Ling said as much. Before she could finish, though, the door right across from the bottom of the staircase burst open. One of the suit-wearing goons, sporting a little TMP submachine gun, leaned around the corner and let off a long burst.

    Corwin grunted in pain as multiple 9mm slugs tore into his left thigh and hip. Letting his rifle go, he began to fall to his left, drawing his Sig as he did so. He hit the floor firing, letting off shot after shot into the doorway. Jeff’s shotgun roared again, but the shooter was gone.

    “****!” Corwin yelled. I kept my rifle leveled at the door, waiting for the guy in the suit to pop out again. If he was smart, I thought, he’d let us come to him. Not that it’d make a difference for him in the end.

    I heard another door open behind me. I looked over my shoulder in time to see one of the rifle-carrying guards look into the room, eyes wide. He had his G36K shouldered, and aimed it at me. I tried to move, but wasn’t fast enough.

    I felt three sharp pains as his rounds struck me in the back. I stumbled forward and fell to the floor, trying to roll out of the way. Ling and Michel were on the shooter before he could fire again, though. He probably caught a dozen rounds before they stopped firing. At the same time, the suit wearing shooter appeared in the doorway again. Jeff’s Benelli 12-gauge spoke again. The first shot hit the suit guy in the stomach in a splash of blood, causing him to double over. The second hit him in the chest, causing his torso to whip back, and he began to fall. Before his knees hit the floor, Jeff popped off a third shot, which struck the man in the neck and damn near took his head off. Three-inch magnum buckshot is nasty stuff, and Jeff is a demon with that shotgun.

    I was still on the floor, now laying on my back. I asked Corwin if he was okay, unable to hide the concern in my voice. It hurt to breathe.

    “Are you okay?” Ling asked, kneeling beside me.

    “I think so,” I croaked. “Is there any blood?”

    “No,” she said, patting my back to check for blood, relief in her voice. “Your vest stopped all three rounds.” Body armor: never leave home without it!

    “Matthew?” I asked.

    “****…****…” he managed as Shen knelt by his side.

    “Multiple nine-millimeter wounds,” Shen said.

    “Christ,” Corwin said. “Not again. God damn it.”

    “Bravo One, this is Alpha Six. I need you to send one of your guys to the foyer. We’ve got wounded that I’m sending up, and I want to make sure it’s clear.”

    “Affirmative,” Ibrahim replied. “We’re making our way to the second floor now. I will send Roland.”

    “Thank you,” I replied. “Jeff, help Matthew up and take him upstairs.”

    “Allow me to bandage him first. I am a trained medic,” Shen said. I nodded, and asked Ling to help me up. Instead Michel grabbed the drag strap on my armor and literally pulled me to my feet, with one hand. Shen quickly bandaged Corwin’s wounds, and he and Jeff helped my injured friend to his feet. He slung his left arm around Jeff’s neck, and they made their way to the stairs.

    “Mike, I’m never going anywhere with you again!” Corwin yelled as they rounded the corner.

    “Take him all the way to the vans!” I yelled back. “We’ll finish up down here. I’ll see you guys later!” At the time, I had no idea how much later it would be.
     
    Last edited: Apr 2, 2007
  4. Nightcrawler

    Nightcrawler Member

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Utah, inside the Terraformed Zone
    12, part five

    There were four of us left, now. Shen and Michel checked the last door, which led only to an empty bathroom. Confident that everything behind us was secure, we made our way through the door and down the hallway beyond. The hallway was unfurnished, save a hastily-laid red carpet, and was lit by simple fluorescent lighting. The walls were cinder block, and on our right were open doors which led to storage rooms. No one was in any of them, leaving only the door at the end of the hall. That was where the actual slave sale had to be taking place, that was where the captives had to be, and that was where the clients had to be as well, along with whatever security they had left.

    I felt trepidation creeping into my mind. Those people were going to be desperate; by now they had to know what was happening. I took a deep breath, closed my eyes for a moment, then continued down the hall. I was in the lead as we came to the door. The others stacked behind me, and I looked back. Ling placed her hand on my shoulder, and looked into my eyes. I smiled at her, turned and kicked the door open. I was unprepared for what I saw.

    Before I could take it in, though, I had to react. There were two guards left, both in suits and carrying only pistols. My rifle was up and on the one closest to me before he could fire, and I popped off three shots. All three exploded out of his back, and he collapsed to the floor. The second security guy got one shot off before Ling and Shen together put about a dozen slugs through him. His shot went wide, grazing Michel in the left bicep. The hulking, muscular African didn’t even flinch.

    Finally having a moment to breathe, I took in the room I was now in. It was a large storage room that had been converted for another purpose. The left side of the room had been set up with a wide stage. On that stage, huddled together in shock, were thirty people. Most seemed completely out of it; Ling had told me that it was common to drug the captives with something like Valium to make them docile for the auction.

    They were girls and boys; the youngest were scarcely older than toddlers, and the oldest were but teenagers. The boys were wearing only shorts, and the girls wore shorts and t-shirts. There were two men on stage. One, apparently the auctioneer, was crouched against the wall. He was wearing a flamboyant red suit and some kind of freaky devil mask. Another man was an older guy in a tux, wearing a black masquerade mask. He stood up as we entered the room, weapons leveled.

    The right half of the room had been set up with chairs. Most of them had been knocked over now, but in the back corner, also huddled together, were probably twenty people. Most were men in tuxedos, but there were a few women as well. All were wearing masks. Some had on leather gimp masks, others looked like they were attending a masquerade ball. My blood ran cold. I’ve seen a lot of horrible things in my life, but this sick spectacle bothered me in ways that I can’t describe. They’d even hung a banner across the far wall that read, ‘the wages of sin’.

    They’re going to find out what those wages are, I thought to myself, and made my way to the stage. As I did so, I heard Ibrahim on the radio, saying that the upper levels were clear and that he was heading to the basement. Ling responded, telling him that we’d found the captives.

    I strode up the steps, and then across the stage. I looked down at the auctioneer in his devil mask.

    “I…I can pay you…I…” Without a word, I let go of my FAL, drew my .44, and shot the auctioneer in the face. The crowd gasped as the big revolver spoke and the auctioneer’s head exploded in a red cloud. Holstering my sidearm, I continued forward to the other man on the stage. He held up his hands to me, not in surrender, but almost like he was scolding me.

    “Do you know who I am, son?” he said, apparently confident that I gave a ****. Now, the irony of a masked man asking me who he is was not lost on me. But for the life of me, I couldn’t think of anything witty to say, no snappy come-back. Ain’t that how it always is? I was in no mood for quips anyway. I looked over at the terrified captives again, and unsnapped my rifle’s sling.

    Stepping forward, I brought my rifle up, and smashed the masked man in the nose with my its steel buttplate. His head snapped back, and I smashed again, causing him to collapse to the stage. I stood over him, and brought the butt of my rifle down on his head again, and again, and again, the calm giving way to rage. After the third strike, there was blood on the buttplate of my rifle stock. I moved behind the man and, holding my rifle in both hands again, kicked his limp form off of the stage. He unceremoniously flopped to the floor, and didn’t move.

    “Does anybody else here think I GIVE A **** WHO YOU ARE?” I asked of the crowd, my words coming out almost as a scream. No one said anything, and I buckled my rifle’s sling around me. Just then, Ibrahim’s team made their way into the room.

    “BACK AGAINST THE WALL!” Michel boomed.

    “MOVE!” Ling screamed. The terrified masked people complied, and we spent the next few minutes getting the captives out of there. It was difficult; the ones that weren’t drugged were in shock, and we had to be gentle. But within minutes, the last of them had been led up the stairs. It was time to go.

    I got to witness another EXODUS ritual then, one few outsiders ever see and live to tell about. Ling, Ibrahim, Michel, Shen, and three more people from Ibrahim’s team lined up and leveled their weapons at the crowd.

    “We are EXODUS,” Ling said calmly. “You are wicked. Make your peace.”

    “No, WAIT!” one of them screamed. It didn’t do him any good.

    My eyes narrowed as I, still standing on the stage, watched my comrades massacre the monsters who would buy and sell children as sexual playthings. The noise was deafening, from the chatter of Ling’s assault rifle to the thump of Ibrahim’s G3K, to the roar of one fully automatic shotgun. It was over in seconds, though, and all of the shooters had to reload.

    “Michael,” Ling said to me, her voice sounding distant. “We have to go now.”

    “Alpha One, Alpha One, this is Fox Team! We’ve got two choppers inbound from the north. They’re a ways off, but I’ve got ‘em on thermal. They’re flyin’ nap of the earth and are runnin’ dark. Please advise!” The Fox Team sniper had a thick southern drawl, which I found interesting. Ling cursed in Chinese again.

    “We’ve been here too long.” Indeed, it’d been almost half an hour now. “I didn’t think they’d respond that quickly. Fox Team, Alpha One. Get out of there. Attention all elements, we are leaving. Get to the vans now. GO!” Everyone replied in the affirmative, and we began to make our way back down the hallway, towards the stairs.

    “Ling,” I said as we vaulted up the steps into the foyer.

    “Michael, there’s no time,” she said, not slowing down.

    “Ling!” I said again, grabbing her arm. “We’re not going to make it.”

    “Not if we delay. Now come on!” The irritation was obvious in her voice.

    “No,” I said, unsnapping my rifle and handing it to her. “We’re not going to outrun two choppers. We need a diversion.”

    “What are you saying?”

    “If I don’t make it, give my rifle back to Hawk. I’m not letting the Feds get it.”

    “Michael, NO! We’re not leaving anyone behind! Get to the vans!”

    “You’re not the boss of me, darlin’,” I said, managing a smile for her. “Michel? You got any demo left?”

    “Yes, Mr. Valentine. One block of C4, some det-cord, another initiator, and five minutes’ worth of time fuse.”

    “That’ll do. Give it here.”

    “But your rifle!” Ling said.

    “Plenty of ‘em laying on the ground. Get going now. Get the children out of here. I don’t want to do this for nothing. Go on!”

    “God will not forget this,” Ibrahim said, patting me on the shoulder as he went out the door. Ling lingered. Taking a moment I didn’t have, I gently put my left hand on her right cheek. She closed her eyes, and I told her goodbye. I then turned her around, pushed her out of the door, and ran up the stairs to the second floor.

    Chicken ****, I thought to myself as I stopped by one of the dead guards. You should’ve kissed her. I took his rifle and two extra magazines, and was on my way.
     
    Last edited: Apr 2, 2007
  5. Nightcrawler

    Nightcrawler Member

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    12, part six

    I made my way to a bedroom that faced north. The lights were off, and through the darkness I could hear the choppers. A moment later, I could see them through the 4x ACOG scope mounted on the G36K I'd acquired. I wasn’t sure, but I thought that they were French-made Dolphin helicopters, and they looked like they were black. One landed just outside of the treeline that surrounded the house, and the other hovered nearby.

    I didn’t want to kill any FBI guys, or whoever the hell they were. I just had to keep ‘em back long enough for the vans to get clear. Even two choppers can’t follow four vans that split up. Resting the rifle on the window frame, I guesstimated the range, moved the selector switch to ‘semi’, and popped off a shot. I was aiming for the hovering chopper’s tail. I figured if I put a couple holes in it they’d take off, and hopefully I wouldn’t hit anyone inside. I fired again, then a third time, then ducked out of the window and scrambled out of the room. I barely avoided a stream of tracer fire coming from the helicopter. So they had a door gun!

    Running up the hall, I entered another room, and looked at the chopper again. It had moved closer now, shining a searchlight on the window that I’d been in. The pilot was either brave or stupid to get that close, I thought. I aimed at the chopper’s tail rotor and began to pop off more shots. I could tell I was getting hits, and the door gunner tried to swing his weapon over at me. Before he could, though, the pilot had rotated the aircraft and took off back to the north, gaining altitude as he did so. I exhaled heavily, relieved that I’d been able to spook him.

    I ran out of the room and back down the stairs, changing magazines as I did so. The other chopper was still on the ground, and the one I’d shot at was still nearby. I had an idea on how to cover my retreat, though.

    On the west side of the house was a huge propane tank. I stuck the C4 charge to this. I then tied the end of the det-cord into a knot and stuck that into the C4. I cut the time fuse so that it would burn for only three minutes, then connected it to the det-cord. I then connected the initiator to the other end of the time fuse, and pulled the ring. It popped, and the fuse began to burn down. Satisfied, I ran to the other side of the house as fast as I could. Setting my rifle back to full auto, I ripped off an entire magazine over the treeline. There was no way I’d hit anything; my hope was that it’d keep their heads down and slow their advance on the house.

    Dropping the rifle, I quickly looked around the parking lot. The Mustang! The engine was still running. It was a little shot up, but it was operational. I pulled the dead man out of the driver’s seat and did my best to ignore the fact that I was sitting in someone else's brains. I closed the door, buckled myself in, and was relieved to find that the car had an automatic transmission. I know it’s considered blasphemy in such a sports car, but I wasn’t all that great at driving a stick. I put the car in gear and stomped on the gas, tearing down the road that led away from the farm house. I left my headlights off, but the clouds were clearing and moonlight was shining through. I turned onto the road, about a quarter mile away from the courtyard, flipped on the headlights, and stomped on the gas.

    A moment later, the sky behind me lit up in a fireball as the propane tank exploded. The house was engulfed in flames, but I didn’t even slow down. I’d never driven a sports car like that before, and I was pleased to realize that I was going almost a hundred miles an hour. I slowed when I saw flashing police lights in the distance. I slowed more when they got close, and pulled over to the side. They were going in the opposite direction, towards the house. There had to have been a dozen police cars and five fire trucks, and they paid me no mind. I accelerated again, and smiled to myself.

    Hell, I thought. At this rate, I’ll get to the safe house before the vans do. No..I should probably ditch this car and get out of my gear. I’ll have to be sneaky. Can’t be spotted in town covered in blood. I slowed down, as there was a sharp curve ahead of me.

    Rounding the curve, I checked the rear-view mirror. I didn’t see any sign of the helicopters. I exhaled heavily, focusing on the road again.

    That’s when I saw the cow. Standing in the road, not nearly far enough away, was a fifteen-hundred pound black cow. At the last possible second, I cut the wheel to the left, trying to avoid a collision. I did so, but I was going almost a hundred miles an hour. The nimble sports car skidded, then flipped. The world was turned to chaos as the yellow Mustang rolled over again and again, and all I could do was hang on.

    An instant later, it was over. I was upside down, in a lot of pain, and happy that I’d worn my seatbelt.

    “****ING COW!” I screamed as blood rushed to my head. Why are there all these God damned cows anyway? I thought cows were in Wisconsin! Why are there dairy farms in ****ing Iowa? Don’t they grow corn in Iowa? And why didn’t the ****ing airbag… My thoughts were interrupted as the airbag exploded in my face. The last thing I remember before losing consciousness was hearing the cow moo, and finally thinking up a good come-back for the masked man that I’d killed. Don’t you just hate it when that happens?
     
    Last edited: Apr 2, 2007
  6. Nightcrawler

    Nightcrawler Member

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    That's all for Chapter 12. :)
     
  7. canopy2k

    canopy2k Member

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    BEAUTIFUL!!

    Thanks NC.

    I just registered on THR, so I could get updates as this story progressed. Literally you were posting as I was registering. Imagine my happiness when I came to tag the thread and saw your posts start. You keep me enthralled everytime!

    c2k
     
  8. Nightcrawler

    Nightcrawler Member

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    Epilogue, part one

    Epilogue

    “I guess this is it, guys,” I said to my friends. We five, all that was left of SWITCHBLADE, sat in Hawk’s kitchen, meeting as a group for the last time. “I know it was rough. Thank you all for sticking with me.”

    “Spare me, Hopper,” Triana said, no longer even trying to hide her contempt for me. I really couldn’t blame her. I wasn’t any happier about what had happened than she was. “Cut to the chase. What’s the pay out?”

    “I ran the numbers,” I said, looking around. “Splitting up Hudson’s share between us ends up being about three-point-eight-seven-six million dollars for each of us. The money is in Euros, though, and it’s already been wired to Decker’s account. I’m having it wired to our individual accounts on Monday, and after that, I’m closing Decker’s account.”

    “So this is really it,” Corwin said.

    “Yeah, dude, this is really it,” I said. “It’s for the best.”

    “I know,” he said. “It’ll be weird, though.”

    “Tell me about it,” Jeff said. “What the hell am I going to do now?”

    “I’m sure you’ll find something to do with your millions of dollars,” I said, shooting him a smirk. He laughed.

    “You’re the only one of us that has a house, Hawk,” I said, looking over at the old gunslinger. He was leaned against his counter, sipping a beer, as calm as ever.

    “It won’t be the same with all you kids gone, either,” he said, raising his beer to us. “Time to move on, though, I think.”

    “Yeah,” Triana said, standing up. “Hawk, thank you for everything.” She walked over and gave him a hug. For the first time that I could recall, Hawk looked a little ruffled. He didn’t quite blush. “Hopper, I never want to see you again.” Triana turned and headed for the door.

    “You won’t,” I said to her back. “Nothing to see anyway.” I looked down at the can of soda in my hand, and sincerely wished I could forget.
     
  9. Nightcrawler

    Nightcrawler Member

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    Epilogue, part two

    After a couple days in the hospital, they’d transferred me to the county jail. I was being held on suspicion of grand theft auto and unlawfully carrying a concealed weapon, or something like that. The police had guessed that I’d had something to do with the incident at the farm house, but they seemed unable to put the pieces together.

    So there I was, sitting in an interrogation room, picking my nose, while two detectives did a lousy job of playing Good Cop/Bad Cop. They’d been interrogating me for almost an hour, and I hadn’t said a single word to them. The ‘bad cop’ was getting increasingly frustrated and yelled louder and louder as time passed. The ‘good cop’ was rubbing his temples, and I saw him pop a couple Excedrin.

    “I’m not going to ask you again,” Bad Cop said to me, nose just inches from my face. Oh, how I wish that were true, I thought. “What the hell happened at that farmhouse? We know you were involved! What is your name!”

    The police were having a hard time with me. I wasn't carrying any ID when I was arrested, and my fingerprints weren’t on file. I was sure that eventually they’d be able to match dental records from when I was a kid, but for the time being, I was giving them nothing. I continued to pick my nose. My right arm was in a sling, as I’d sprained my elbow in the crash, and I had gauze and bandages all over. I was wearing an orange jumpsuit and white tennis shoes.

    “Are you listening to me?” Bad Cop said, getting angry and shoving me on the shoulder. I looked at him, then back at the slimy booger on my left index finger, then back at him. Before he knew what happened, I wiped the booger on his upper lip. Bad Cop came unglued.

    “You son of a bitch!” he sputtered, wiping his face on his sleeve. “That’s disgusting! I…hey! HEY! Are you listening to me?” I’d already gone back to picking my nose. The dry winter air was playing hell with my sinuses. He reeled back like he was going to smack me, but Good Cop intervened.

    “Look,” Good Cop said. “The Feds are blocking our investigation. You’re all we got. We don’t know what the hell’s going on over there, but it stinks, and it smells like a cover-up. Will you help us expose the truth? We can work out a deal if you cooperate.” Before I could think about responding, someone knocked on the door.

    “What’s going on?” Good Cop asked.

    “Feds are here. They want to see him,” the other guy said.

    “What? How’d they find out?”

    “Don’t know, but they want to see him, alone.”

    “****.” Both cops left me alone in the interrogation room then. I was alone in there for probably ten minutes before the door opened again. This time, two guys in cheap suits walked in. One was shorter, mid-thirties probably, with a slick haircut and a hard face. The other was a tall, lean, mean looking dude. He had blonde hair blue eyes, chiseled features, and looked like something off of a Nazi propaganda poster. The slick guy sat down across from me, while the Übermensch remained standing at the back of the room.

    “I must say, Mr. Valentine, you’re a difficult young man to track down,” Slick said, looking me in the eye. I smiled at him.

    “I do try. I was wondering how long it’d take you guys to figure out who I am.”

    “Well, we’ve got better resources than these ****ing yokels,” he said, grinning at me.

    “You a Fed?” I asked.

    “Something like that. I am with the Government.”

    “Just ‘the Government’? No agency? No department? Just a generic G-Man?”

    “Something like that,” he said, grinning still.

    “So what can I do for you then, Mr…?”

    “Willis. My name is Gordon Willis. My associate here is Mr. Anders. I think a better question is what I can do for you.”

    “I’m listening.”

    “Well, Mr. Valentine, we know that you were working with the terrorist group EXODUS, and we’re fairly certain you used to be with the mercenary group SWITCHBLADE. We know that Valentine isn’t your real name, but we don’t know what your real name is. We’ll find out eventually, though. However, we can work this out, if you’ll just answer one question.”

    “Go ahead.”

    “Did you or your friends kill Edward Montalban in that farm house?”

    “Who?”

    “Edward Montalban. Skinny guy, bad hair. Carries a poodle. Kind of gay.”

    “I think he left before we got there. Assuming, of course, that I know what you’re talking about, which I don’t, or that I was there, which I wasn’t, wherever ‘there’ is or was.” Gordon laughed.

    “That’s a shame. We were very much looking forward to having a word with him. I suppose it was too much to hope for that your friends would’ve taken care of him for us while causing me so many headaches. Imagine my surprise when my strike team commanders reported that not only had their choppers been fired upon, but when they finally assaulted the house, everyone was dead and the place was burning to the ground!”

    “You said we can work it out. I answered your question. So what’s the deal?”

    “Well…I’m afraid you and your friends have put us on the spot, Mr. Valentine. Normally, we don’t give a **** about the likes of EXODUS, and I personally don’t give two ****s about the people you whacked. But therein lies the problem. Do you know who those people were?”

    “One guy asked me if I did. He was wearing a mask, though, so it was kind of a dumb question.” Gordon laughed again. “They were just a bunch of rich pedophiles. Who gives a ****?”

    “That’s the thing. Among those rich pedophiles was a sitting United States Senator, three Congressmen, high-level executives from no less than four Fortune 500 companies, one of which has direct ties to the Vice President, a United States Circuit Court Judge, a washed up pop singer, a famous televangelist, and an even more famous celebrity who’s also a vocal advocate for the Church of Scientology.”

    “I’m still not caring, Mr. Willis,” I said coldly. “A pedophile is a pedophile. I don’t give a **** who his friends are.”

    “No, but those friends do. As I said, I personally have no sympathy for them. But the truth about this incident leaking out would stir the pot a little too vigorously for my superiors’ taste. So, what actually happened, can’t have happened, and we’re working on ensuring that it didn’t. We’re not worried about EXODUS, especially since they didn’t bother to ID any of the people they killed. But then here you are, with all of the information. Now what do we do with you?”

    “You know, I didn’t know any of that information until you told me just now. But since you couldn’t keep your mouth shut, I suppose that thanking me for taking out the trash and letting me go is out of the question?”

    “I’m afraid so,” Gordon said, a grin splitting his face. “You’re too much of a loose end to be left running around.”

    “I have a question now. I see where this is going. If you’re just going to take me out back and shoot me anyway, why are we having this little chat? I’m willing to bet you already knew that I didn’t know anything.”

    “I’d guessed,” Gordon said. “I needed to be sure, though. In any case, I told you that we could work this out, and I meant that. So I’m giving you a choice. I’m putting a little project together, one that needs people of your obvious talent. If you did what we think you did the other night, then you’re a talented young man indeed. If you go to bat for us, for your country, instead of just for money, then your unpleasant past can stay hidden. Once it’s over, you can go your own way, provided you can keep quiet about things, and you will be compensated for your trouble in the mean time.”

    “I don’t suppose I have any choice?”

    “Of course you do. If you don’t want to work with me, then you’re going to die in a tragic accident. Or maybe you’ll be raped and murdered in prison. Either way, I’d suggest that you consider my offer.”

    “I have two requests.”

    “Go ahead,” Gordon said, sounding suspicious.

    “First of all, make these cops give me my gun back. I don’t care about the snubby, but that forty-four is important to me. Also, let me send one email to my friends, so they know I’m not dead. You can read it before I send it if you want. I wouldn’t have lived this long if I wasn’t good at being discreet.”

    “Does this mean that you’re on board, Mr. Valentine?”

    “As thrilling as being gang-raped by a bunch of burly convicts sounds, I think I’m willing to give your offer a shot.”

    “You’re taking this very well. I honestly expected more defiance.”

    “I’m a mercenary, Mr. Willis, not an idealist. Who is it that you want me to kill?”

    “I’m sorry…?”

    “Gordon…can I call you Gordon? Gordon,” I said, grinning, “No one has ever asked for, or in your case, insisted upon my help unless they wanted somebody whacked. So who is it?”

    “We’ll get to that later,” he said with a laugh. “Now why don’t we get you out of here?”

    “And my requests?”

    “I think we can do both, Mr. Valentine.” I stuck out my hand. Gordon took it, and shook it firmly. He had a pleasant smile and a smooth voice, but I could tell that he had ice water in his veins. I knew I couldn’t trust him, but I also knew that if I didn’t go along with this, I was a dead man. Oh well, I thought. Can’t win ‘em all…

    ***

    Dear Jeff,

    I don’t have a lot of time, so I have to be brief. The chair is against the wall, and John has a long moustache. I’m alive, and I’m okay. I got caught. Some G-Man offered me a deal, I took it. I guess I work for them now. Don’t know what, when, where, or for how long, but I’ll be okay. I’ll be out of touch, though. Tell everyone I’m okay, including Austin. Thank him especially, he really saved my butt.

    Tell HER that I’m sorry. Tell her that I’ll never forget her, and tell her that I said goodbye. You guys go to ground, stay off the radar, and watch your six. Take care of yourselves. It was good to see you guys again. I’ll see you when I see you.

    -Mike

    PS: DO NOT try to find me. This order is NOT DISCRETIONARY.


    END
     
    Last edited: Apr 2, 2007
  10. Nightcrawler

    Nightcrawler Member

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    I'm afraid that's all, folks. Thank you everyone for your support, and thanks to Oleg for making this all possible.

    The rework of Book II will be starting before too terribly long, then then onto Book III, so there's more to come. I hope you enjoyed this little prequel. :eek:

    EDIT: If anyone's keeping track, that's about eleven thousand, nine hundred words I added tonight to wrap the story up. Thought I'd make up for not getting anything posted last week. Comes to about sixteen pages, single spaced, 10-point Arial font.
     
  11. Geegolly

    Geegolly Member

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    :mad: should of shot them, I bet lorenzo wishes they had
     
  12. darkknight

    darkknight Member

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    i cant wait for the second story again. Thank you nightcrawler for the awesome books. you should turn these into a script and become rich America needs a hero like this and you deserve the money for your talent.
    dark knight
     
  13. NukemJim

    NukemJim Member

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    NC, your already excellent skills have definetly improved. Most excellent!

    A thought to consider perhaps, I went back and reread the original story (Hey I neeed a fix :) ) and enjoyed the humor in it. perhaps you could do some sort of work in the humorous style as evidenced in the original work, either shorts or a different long story. If you read SciFi think Miles Vorkasagin (SP?) some works serious some humorous.

    Also would love to see some good SciFi (There is already WAY too much bad SciFi :cuss: ) how far in the future i.e. what type of weaponry will the protaganist be using? (Besides you working in a .44Mag revolver somehow :evil: )

    Congratulations and thanks on an A+ product.

    NukemJim
    PS I look forward to the next story but as one of my photography instructors told us. "They will remember how bad it is long after they forget how quickly it was done". Write at your own pace, your product is worth waiting for. NJ
     
  14. v8stang289

    v8stang289 Member

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    Excellent job NC, well worth the wait.
     
  15. CNYCacher

    CNYCacher Member

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    Awsome!

    back to work :uhoh:
     
  16. fiVe

    fiVe Member

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    Bravo! Thanks, NC (and thank you, Oleg). Looking forward to the re-release of #2.
     
  17. hacksaw

    hacksaw Member

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    Bravo!
     
  18. Glock22

    Glock22 Member

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    Nightcrawler you have done another great job. :cool:
    This is some great writing. :D :D
     
  19. G36-UK

    G36-UK Member

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    Nice work as always, Nightcrawler.

    I can't wait for the next ones. I assume you've got something serious planned for Book 3?

    Can you give an example of the things you're changing in Book 2?
     
  20. Correia

    Correia Moderator Emeritus

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    Book 2 is going to be a little bit longer than the original thread. Some characters are getting fleshed out a bit more, and of course we're going to do some actual editing this time.

    Book 3 is bigger, and some major things happen. Threads from the past come back together, and all the loose ends are tied up. That will be the final chapter of the Nightcrawler saga.

    I've got to say. I loved the cow. :D
     
  21. Correia

    Correia Moderator Emeritus

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    Geegolly, very perceptive. In the 'crawlerverse, everything is related somehow. :)
     
  22. Billy Sparks

    Billy Sparks Member

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    NC and Correia, the offer still stands if you ever make to my area of North Carolina I will buy you a steak dinner for the stories you two have written.
     
  23. SwampFox

    SwampFox Member

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    Outstanding. Thanks. bowdown.gif
     
  24. xds&gsps

    xds&gsps Member

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    Awesome thanks for sharing your talents with us!!!!
     
  25. Correia

    Correia Moderator Emeritus

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    You know, Nightcrawler screwed up.

    Yesterday was April Fools Day.

    He should have posted that he had taken a lucrative security gig in the middle east again, and was going to have to leave immediatly, and would be without internet access for a year. He would finish this when he got back. :)
     
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