Ursa Non Gratis

Part VI.

Niki TwoBears - Wolf Pack

After they arrived and Gran headed out, our new 'siblings' started to get acquainted with their new digs. They'd had about 16 hours together, so they'd at least started to get to know each other. We've got a lot of work ahead of us, but I can see why Duck was hoping for military in general, these folks in particular.

They've been part of a team before, that helps a lot. But the trust and the knowledge in and of each other, that takes time. I have to admit, they looked like a mismatch to me from the start.

There was Doe, John Doe, quiet, not too obtrusive. Sniper, good too from what I've seen. Man had Cyber eyes that only a blind man could mistake for anything other than what they were. Perfect tool for a sniper, long range, surprised they didn't have something to measure the wind built in.

Steve, Stephanie, Soldier, good shot, good tactics. An all around kind of fighter. First time you look at her you find yourself thinking, this girl couldn't hold the ammunition, let alone fire the gun, but looks are deceiving, very deceiving.

Next one calls himself the 'Inquisitor', and the man is intense. Quiet, yet imposing... My first guess was hermetic mage, at least he matches the 'TwoBears Family stereotype of Mages. Roughly translated, it comes down to suit magic vs shirt magic. TwoBears are Shirts, this guy just screams suit. But then again, looks. According to Duck, this man knows how to get information on anything. I sure hope so, otherwise Christmas at the TwoBears' is going to be a lot quieter.

Rounding the group out is Dragger. An Orc Rigger. Like the other's he was a good enough shot, used to working in the dirt. Rather good natured and built like a mountain. He kinda reminds me of Bear.

Each of them a soldier, each of them a specialist, we've led them to water... now to make them drink. Gran says its like teaching old dogs new tricks. My job is to turn those old dogs into a wolf pack.

First night here Doe and Steve went for a walk around the grounds. Dragger stayed in, but he sent a remote with them. I'm not sure, but I think his Inquisitorship went and checked things out astrally, good strategy actually. I wonder if they planned it or if it just happened. This may just work.

The first three weeks passed pretty well, except for when the MedicineHorse brothers decide to take them horseback riding. Especially when Dragger tried to get up on one of the Shires. They went out and if they had to ride a horse, I guess they'd at least know better than to try. The motorcycles on the other hand were a hit. They're all doing well in tactics and shooting.

I think Duck's more concerned that they work well together than whether they can do the job or not. That's Duck, 'team' means everything to her. It seemed like play until last Saturday when we ran a cross team exercise.

The game was simple. Our regular trainees try and hold Duck while the special team tries to extract her, under a time limit and a roped out area of course. Everybody was armed with paint guns, and paint cannons and paint remotes and pain arrows. And everybody had their own style of 'observation' equipment.

The regulars had animals, the special team had some of Duck's 'eyeball remotes.' I don't think they realized that the owl and the deer were Nan's, we'll have to work on that. As it was, we almost lost everybody to sniper fire.

While the games were on, I was watching from the field tent. Official remotes scanned the area while the players took their positions. The special team spread out, Dragger had his remotes running scout with Doe in the lead. Steve was behind him followed by Dragger, who'd phase in and out as the remotes alerted him to movement. The Inquisitor took the rear, watching Dragger's back as he checked his signals and adjusted the remote's paths. Doe scored the first 'kill' before the whole game went to hell. As everybody was moving in, a shot rang out. We had real snipers on the field, toting real weapons.

They shot Nan as she moved into position. Nobody had real weapons either. Paint guns. I grabbed the team's gear and kicked into high gear. There's a reason the guys won't race me anymore, but at this moment, I was glad I was born to run. By the time I'd gotten to them, Doe had already shot the sniper once with the paint gun. It startled him, but it didn't take him long to realize it was only paint.

As I ran, I tossed them their weapons, first Inquisitor's, then Dragger's. Steve was next as she closed in. Fortunately she warned Doe I was on my way. He caught his rifle as I went by and I kept going, knowing full well, I'd be a target. I may be fast, but I'm hardly quiet.

Afterwards, watching the official vids from the playing field showed a lot more of what happened. There were three of them. They slipped in over one of the ridges and were in the 'off limits area.' We didn't see them until they opened fire. Dragger brought the remotes into play while his teammates closed in.

Switching to IR, they found the three, one of them was wearing some kind of Camo that rendered him invisible. Invisible that is until Doe hit him with the paint gun. The sniper Doe had already pegged with the paint gun.

Meanwhile, Steve closed in on number three that seemed intent on the Cabin where Duck was supposed to be. I say supposed, because she and Michael had already moved into position above the sniper.

Once Doe had his gun, he was able to hit the sniper with something a little more lethal. That was pretty much it for their sniper. One thing about Doe, he knows how to handle that gun.

With the sniper out of the way, Doe and Dragger guided Duck and Michael to the Mr. Invisible. Seems he was completely visible on IR. While they were handling that, Steve and the Inquisitor got the last one, who had the sense to surrender, after he had taken on some lead from Steve and his Inquisitorshipness.

Their surviving member said they were there for 'her,' he said nodding at Duck. I think Duck got to say something she's always wanted to say: 'You're hunting without a permit, and Duck is out of season.'

Of course by that point, since my wolf pack had proven themselves, and more to Duck's reasoning, been put at risk, she told them the whole story. She wanted them to sleep on it, but I think they're staying.

Chalk another one up to hiring former military folks. They got pride in themselves, their unit, and a strong feeling for fellow soldiers who've been left out to dry.

Copyright 1998 - M.T. Decker

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