I was going through my files, and I found this story. I decided to post it. If it contains any simularties to any other stories, then I apologize. I wrote this a long time ago.
“Come in, are you there? Are you there?” “Agent Alaska, I can’t trace the signal. Should I still play it? Agent Alaska?”
Alaska groaned as Lambda woke him up. For a moment he wondered what the heck was going on. Then he remembered.
Project Freelancer had fallen. Some simulation troopers had gone and stolen some AIs, then gotten away with it while the Meta attacked. Then this whole inquiry started and the Project was shut down. Thank the Lord that Alaska and his friends had made it out when they did.
During their time in Freelancer, they were paired together under the codename Echo Squad. After a few missions, they had rebelled after being convinced by Lambda, their AI. Well, Alaska’s and Idaho’s. Since Agent Kansas was the tech sergeant, he got his own AI, named Upsilon.
“Repeat,” Alaska said bluntly to the terminal where Lambda had taken residence. He had had a bad experience with AIs, and he never could trust him. Lambda knew that, and for that reason preferred Idaho’s suit, who was perfectly comfortable with AIs.
“As I was saying,” Lambda went on, “we are receiving in incoming transmission on an old Freelancer channel. Since it is encrypted, I cannot trace it back to its source.” That’s not good. Anyone can use the old Freelancer channels from spam to battle tactics, and it couldn’t be traced. Heck, Echo Team had used it themselves on several occasions.
“Send me a sample” Alaska decided. Lambda was capable of sending in snitches of noise. Lambda concentrated, and his simple sage avatar vanished. There was a click, and the recording began.
“Come in, Echo Squad,” came a crisp voice that was vaguely familiar to Alaska. “We’ve tracked you to your location, and we would like you to hand a certain… matter for us.”
Alaska jumped out of bed, and started putting on his armor. He turned to Lambda, visible again on the console. “Call the others in,” he said, “I think they might want to hear this.”
A few minutes later, Echo Squad was assembled in front of the console. There was Alaska in his silver armor, Kansas in his green armor, and Idaho in his blue. Idaho nodded toward the console, where Lambda’s sage form was visible once more. “Play it, please,” he said. Lambda nodded, disappeared.
Alaska stepped forward. “This is Echo Team, receiving,” he said, and waited for the response. It came out crystal clear.
“Good. From your voice I assume you to be Agent Alaska. Anyway, as you know, recently, along with the catastrophic events on Sidewinder, Project Freelancer has fallen, and the UNSC has lost a considerable amount of credibility.
“All this was caused by a small group of simulation troopers, and a several rouge Freelancers, except for those who were in our employ. Anyway, those simulation troopers returned to their bases without proper questioning. Especially the one they call Caboose. Your mission, should you choose to except it, is to find and capture this Caboose, and bring him to us. If you except, carry out your mission. If you don’t, we will find other groups more suited to our tastes. Good luck, Echo Squad.”
The transmission ended with a burst of static. Alaska stepped back, and the team stood still for a while. Then Upsilon’s golden form appeared on Kansas’s shoulder. “Well, are we doing it or not?” he asked, curious. Alaska shrugged and started prepping the equipment.
“Why not?” he asked as the others stared at him, “at the very least, we’ll get some exercise.”
Little did they know what was soon to happen…
Echo Team’s Hornet cruised slowly over the ice wall that separated the canyon known as Valhalla from the rest of the planet. Idaho was in the controls, while Kansas and Alaska sat in the back, guns ready in case of an attack. With what trouble the simulation troops had caused fully trained agents, they were undoubtedly a formidable foe.
Idaho shifted in the driver’s seat, enjoying the presence of Lambda in his head. While having an AI sometimes was uncomfortable, Idaho found it helped him think. Certainly it was doing better than most people could. Robots where the only friends he needed.
Richard Simmons had gone out to do some scouting at Blue Base, trying to see what was going on. With their new soldier, who was also a fully trained Freelancer, he knew it would take the combined might of Red and Blue, and possibly not then, to stop him. Even now Sarge was forcing Grif through a brutal training regime, threatening him with shotgun blasts the entire time.
Simmons crossed the rock bluff which the teams had chosen as a neutral line, separating Blue Territory from Red. During the negotiations, which Sarge had leaded, he had made sure to give the Blues as little ground as possible.
Quickly checking to see if Lopez was around, Simmons muttered, “No wonder we never win this war. We’re all too busy fighting over stupid neutral grounds and building dumb robots.”
He scoped in with his Battle Rifle, looking over the fine outline that was Blue Base. There was no activity, probably because they were building stupid robots. Simmons looked over his shoulder quickly again. He could swear Lopez could read minds with his robot brain. It was possible in the books Simmons had read as a kid.
As he kept watching, his gaze wandered off to the icy cliffs above, which were usually devoid of most and all life. But before his eyes, Simmons watched as a small, compact Hornet coasted in and landed on the ridge above Blue Base.
Simmons turned and ran back to base as fast as he could. He had to tell Sarge what he had seen in the Hornet.
He had seen Freelancers.
Kansas hopped out of the Hornet almost as soon as it hit the ground. Upsilon let out a small laugh as Kansas skidded on the icy ground. “What are you laughing about?” he asked, a little annoyed.
“At the fact that you’re such a balanced person, but you just skidded on some ice,” Upsilon said, and then burst into laughter about his stupid joke. Kansas growled. “For Alpha’s humor, you aren’t very funny,” he said. Upsilon stopped laughing. “Screw you.”
Echo Team unloaded, strapping what they could carry unto their backs, and the rest they left in the Hornet, which they were going to use as a advance base if things went sour. With the uncountable power of the simulation troopers, it was a certainty.
“Okay,” Alaska said, holding his sniper rifle idly in his hands as he addressed the group, “from what we learned from the UNSC, these guys are some cold butt sniffers, so we go in, take Caboose, and get out before the others know, okay?”
“I highly disagree,” Lambda said, appearing on Idaho’s shoulder, “from the details I managed to get on these troopers, they appear to be highly unintelligent.”
“Well then,” Alaska said, shrugging and running down the hill, “this will be easy, then.”
Caboose was sitting on the edges of Blue Base, yawning and thinking about macaroni and giant space robots from the future. In short, what he did every day, occasionally deviating to play with his cat, Apples.
He leaned back, relaxing as the sun slowly went up, then down, then up, then down, and Caboose would move his head with it until it decided to go down. As he was relaxing, something zoomed out of nowhere and struck him in the shoulder.
“Hey loookkk,” he said, smiling at the tranquilizer dart imbedded in his skin, “a kittttyyyyyyyyyy*”
Echo Squad jumped down quickly, Kansas catching Caboose’s falling body. So far no one had been alerted, and they quickly tied Caboose up.
“I still can’t believe,” Idaho said, lugging Caboose’s body towards their Hornet, “that he was just standing out in the open, with no protection.”
“Actually,” Lambda said, appearing on Idaho’s shoulder, “I’ve been spying through this Caboose’s records, and this makes perfect sense. Apparently, he’s an idiot.”
“Hey,” came a voice behind them. They turned around the see a Blue and Yellow soldier running up to them, gun ready, “what do you think you’re doing?”
At that moment, a Warthog came pounding over the hill, bearing with it the Red Team. Grif was driving, Sarge was in the shotgun, Simmons at the turret. Donut and Lopez where on one of the motorcycles made by Lopez.
“Crap,” Alaska muttered, diving off to the side as they opened fire. Kansas stepped back, lifted his Rocket Launcher. The Reds gulped and dived to the side as the Rocket slammed into the Warthog, lifting it up in a burst of flame.
“Ah, come on,” Sarge yelled, “that thing still had warranty! Now I’m gonna kill you.”
Kansas replied by launching another rocket, which Sarge had to roll away to dodge. The other Reds had regrouped, and where firing rapidly as Echo Team backed up to their Hornet. The Blue and yellow one jumped behind them. “You’re not going anywhere,” he said, and Alaska started, looking up in shock. “Wash?” he asked. Wash rapidly looked around, “Alaska?”
At that moment, Idaho jumped down on Washington, clasping something on his neck. Wash immediately started to writhe as Lambda used the device to jump into Wash’s head. Wash collapsed, tearing at his head, desperately trying to remove it, and failing.
“Get Lambda off him,” Alaska yelled, firing back at the Reds. Idaho nodded, lifting Wash up by his neck and tearing the device off, freeing Lambda from Wash. Wash shuddered and collapsed to the ground.
At that moment, Tucker came running up, saying, “What the crap is going on, where’s-“he stopped as Kansas slammed his gun into his face. Lopez opened fire with the Missile Pod, sending round after round into the Hornet. Alaska tossed a grenade in Lopez’s direction, striking him in the chest and sending him flying backwards.
Simmons backtracked slowly, firing steadily. He was running out of ammo, and if he did, he would be sitting ducks. As he turned, Kansas fired a single shot into his back, sending him crashing to the ground, unconscious.
Wash slowly began to stir once more, and Idaho paused in his lifting of Caboose to reach down and deliver the right kind of jab to Wash’s neck, sending him back into dreamland.
“Let’s go!” Alaska yelled, hopping into the Hornet’s controls. Kansas fired off another rocket volley to distract the Reds, then grabbed Caboose and hopped into his seat, Idaho into his.
Slowly, Alaska lifted them off the ground, sending them spiraling into the air, the Reds and Blues cussing them out.