The sound of her heartbeat was the only thing Talia heard as she scrambled on her hands and knees. Like so many battles before, nothing existed to her but the moment. Chaos raged around her but her mind remained calm and focused on the task at hand and that was to capture Josephson and then bring her people home safely.
Sweat ran down her face faster than a mountain stream in the spring and she stopped to wipe her brow with the back of a gloved hand before starting to crawl again. Now would come the risky part and that would be drawing the enemy fire away from the shuttle and towards her. While it would take far more than small arms fire to seriously damage her cybernetic body, Talia had no desire to have her face temporarily disfigured by a bullet either.
Let’s do this, she thought.
She side-rolled, the motion allowing her to move to her right, and then rocked up into a kneeling position. The rifle’s synthetic stock kicked against her shoulder hard enough to make Talia’s teeth rattle. Across the field, an enemy soldier took a round to the chest, the impact pushing him backwards to land on the ground.
The sheer amount of bullets that came roaring back sent her scrambling for cover. Talia had been reading through mankind’s history a couple days earlier and stumbled upon the concept of the locust swarm. It’d proven fascinating to the warrior and she’d tried to find a holovid of one to see what it was like to no avail.
I think I know how the Egyptians felt, she thought.
She waited for a pause and then made a motion to Methos before rolling back out of cover and then firing on the enemy again. The first marines raced down the ramp and then headed for their assigned locations. Three made it before a bullet struck the fourth in the head, and she went down hard.
“Georgia!” She yelled. “Move that ass!”
The counter on the rifle hit zero and she side rolled back into cover, allowing the last marine to take his place behind the pallet. A single glance told her the entire fire team made it across the deadly field of fire unharmed. So far they’d been lucky to lose only one soldier but that wouldn’t hold out. Once they started fighting in earnest the sheer number of inbound rounds would ensure someone’s death.
She thumbed on the throat mike. “It seems our friends didn’t like us dropping in on them.”
“They’re just pissed we didn’t call ahead and bring pizza and beer,” Methos said. “You know how humans are ‘bout the Super Bowl.”
“Is that today?” Crios asked. “No wonder they’re touchy! They want to check out the latest ads.”
Talia smiled slightly. “I’m betting it’ll be some beer commercial that wins.”
“You think?” Methos fired off a few rounds. “Got any bright ideas of how to get us out of this mess?”
“I’m working on it,” she said, “but Team Delta will be here shortly.”
“I hope Dannae would hurry up,” Crios said. “I’m feeling like the donkey in a game of ‘pin the tail on the donkey.’”
A sense of euphoria washed over Talia, overwhelming her other senses, and she fought the impulse to win. Less than a hundred years into their lives Dannae put her tech wizardly to work and hacked into the computers of the personnel responsible for the creation of the four of them. In order to keep their four super warriors in line and willing to fight the powers to be had designed an addictive endorphin to be released in their brains during battles.
What Dannae found had left her stunned and lead Talia to wonder about whether she truly had free will. She’d gone to the politicians and raised hell until the truth was exposed. Yes the leaders at the time had decided to have that implanted into their DNA and it was impossible to remove. To do so would remove the ability for the four of them to carry their personality, memories and skills from one clone to the next.
She peeked around the end of the pallet and scanned the area before cursing under her breath. The commander of the Cabal’s forces had put a lot of effort into the attempt to stop her. While she could still take the place, Talia’s hopes for no casualties went out the window as she analyzed the situation.
Years of combat experience told her that while wasn’t impossible for her to take the building, it would be a complicated scenario requiring finesse. If this were during the war it’d be a pretty straight forwards operation, but the marines around her had very little combat experience. That left her having to babysit them on one hand, while trying to overcome the defenses on the other hand. And in her experience, a battle commander whose hands were full always ended up in a terrible situation.
“Georgia! Get over here!”
The Private’s voice shook slightly. “Yes, Ma’am?”
“Get with the program and cover me!”
Despite the seriousness of the situation Talia took a moment to assess the private. If given the chance the kid would be a great marine, which gave the warrior pause. There’d been so many faces, too many to count, during her long years in combat, yet something about Georgia caused her to feel different.
Perhaps it’s the fact that the humans are so young, she thought.
A bulldozer stood fifteen feet away, so tantalizingly close yet far away. While most civilians would look at the distance and say it wasn’t much, they’d be wrong. In combat more than five feet was an ocean to cross when taking enemy fire.
“Georgia, get ready!”
“I’m on it!”
Talia sucked in a deep breath before jumping to her feet and then sprinting towards the safety behind the earthmover. The warrior leapt for cover before landing on her knees and sliding to a stop in the shadow of the ‘dozer.
She slid herself across the ground on her backside until reaching end of the ‘dozer before activating the com again. “Is it wrong to say that I missed this?”
“Here we go again,” Methos groaned. “You’re getting back into combat mode again aren’t you?”
“What do you think I’m supposed to do? Knit socks and bake cookies?”
“Then how about getting us out of this mess.”
“I’m working on it.”
“All I see you doing is talking.”
“Hey,” Crios said. “Give her a break!”
“You stay out of this, Wonder Woman!” Methos chided. “Because the minute Miss Leap Before Looking comes up with the plan, you’re going to go chasing after her like a puppy.”
“Do you two numb skulls mind?” Dannae interrupted. “I can’t hear myself think over here!”
“Dannae,” Talia said. “Where are you?”
“Getting closer to the front,” she said. “It’s slow going. They planted enough land mines to make a Creoth jealous.”
“Great,” she sighed. “You guys just keep holding the line; I’m going to take care of the problem.”
“And here comes the bad idea,” Methos said.
“Pipe down pipsqueak.”
“I’ve got your pipsqueak…”
“What do you plan to do?” Crios asked.
“I’m going to use the left flank to get behind their lines. Should cause one hell of a mess.”
“There’s no cover over there,” Crios observed.
“It’s enough for me and four marines.”
“Oh, goodo!” Methos said. “She’s at it again. Anyone want to place a bet with me that I’ll have to bail her ass out?”
“That’s a sucker bet,” Dannae said.
Talia gritted her teeth. “Just keep them busy, ok?”
“Can do,” Methos’ tone turned serious. “Just keep your damn head down, ok?”
“I plan to.”
“So what’s the plan?”
Talia groaned. “Georgia? What the hell are you doing over here?”
Georgia blinked innocently. “I thought you needed some help,” she smiled slyly. “And I brought friends.”
“I thought I told you guys to stay put.”
“Sorry,” Georgia said. “I didn’t hear that order.”
“You’re so full of shit. Fine, you can come but you follow my orders to the letter from here on out. This won’t be a cake walk.”
“I’m a marine; I didn’t sign up for easy.”
“You’ve got guts, Georgia; I’ll give you that.” Talia looked at the defensive positions again. “We’re going to keep moving to the right and wait for Dannae.” She smiled like a shark. “Somehow I get the feeling these guys aren’t going to like it either.”