DARK AND COLD as a tomb. The svelte black ops commander moved through underground tunnels hearing only the sounds of her own breathing and the splash of sour sewage. Smells and droplets from bacteria heated moisture fell on exposed skin. She and her fighters always chose not to wear protector visors. They found assurance within the barrier of the black liquid body armor. Their genetic enhancements and body skins would shield selectively against harmful microorganisms. This kept the wearer safe from harmful bacteria and military grade ordinance.
Built for heavy combat, the auto deployment of the outer layer of bioplastics was designed not only to deflect but also to allow living tissue to breathe. In addition, Commander Bey Caine was genetically enhanced at birth. Her DNA also held specific nanobots designed to destroy harmful any harmful agent unless compromised. Protected, but what she hated most was the scent that would linger long after their exit from the New Chicago old subway tunnels.
She thought, “I’ll need strong disinfectant steam when I return to barracks. I hate these kinds of chases through old subway tunnels. These sons of bitches forcing this chase will pay.”
She was synced to a common neuro-network, accessible by a subcutaneous spot just below the left ear. They called subcu. A familiar deep male voice invaded her thoughts, “Commander did you know that this damn overwhelming stench is sewage? There must be millions living down here. With all these innocents in the mix shall we stand down on your original orders to kill on sight?”
Commander Caine hissed, “Stewart…get the fuck off my link. Who else is listening in?”
She tapped the sub and imagined the smirk on the face of her second in command. He was Second Lieutenant Frank Stewart. They were old war buddies, only there was never any “declared” wars just a lot of killing in ugly places like this. Commander Caine led missions for 40 of her 60 years with UNS. The United Nation States had medaled him often as an exemplary soldier. This would be their last mission together.
Stewart sighed, “You always say that, and you know that I’m the only one you sanctioned to share this link. Yeah…I’m gonna miss you too Commander.”
Bey answered, “Let’s video before I leave for my new assignment. I’ll be in New Georgia briefly. Right now, pay attention, soldier. It’s close down here in this fucking hell. I need your eyes and ears guarding my ass…”
Commander Caine adjusted the old fashion blade weapon hidden in her waistband and pulled the body sling holding her heavy weaponry. Squeezing through an old workman’s crawl space, she started maneuvering through the blackness of parallel tunnels, sprinting along iron rails once alive with electrical currents. Commander Bey’s team was doing the work of intercepting the Anglo Nation States contractors. And they in turn were on the prowl for UNS agents like her team and to close off further access to the tunnels. Most times at the cost of human lives.
Sprinting the “third rail” was often hazardous. Contractors were known to re-energize electrical currents at a moment’s notice, frying unsuspecting members of black ops teams like hers. There was a reason that in the old days, they nicknamed it the “third rail” that ran alongside tracks powering subway trains. Electrical danger accompanied the chasing.
Augmented contractors were more like demented beasts wearing heavy armor. They were hard to take down. Most times there were only a few. They were more expensive than their human brethren.
Oversized rats scurried over her boots. She toed them out of the way, remembering that these were the cities of wartime survivors forced from surface. Hate and marginalization of the “tan and brown skins” had spread like a pandemic causing a global war between the New White Crusaders and Non-Christians. Billions of lives were taken. Caught in the aftermath of weapons of mass destruction of the Hundred Year War, whole cities were forced to migrate to safe zones. Here they lived underground for generations. There was no escaping the stench and constant hum of the huge populations. This scenario was repeated all over the world and posed problems for all the newly formed governments. Treaty zone laws made it impossible for an unsanctioned person to enter sanctuary cities without proper identification. This resulted in generations of trapped subway families.
Soldiers or military remnants from the war became contractors making up the bulk of the new government called ANS, the Anglo Nation States or Anglo Supremacists. They operated out of a government arm called the “Department”. Like the old foreign embassies, they opened offices in sectors governed as a sanctuary. Undercover militarized contractors were secretly hired to exterminate subway dwellers within sanctuary territories. The ANS government labeled the subterranean populations as “Illegals”, as insurance against the investigation. It was the Department. acting under orders from the ANS, that sanctioned the killing of squatter families, even though this was a blatant breach of the treaty with the United Nation States or the UNS. Commander Bey Caine’s forces were charged with hunting down the contractors where and when possible without appearing to initiate an event resembling a failed treaty or an act of war.
The business of covertly killing and taking war prisoners where no war agreements existed was a secret well-kept from those living comfortably in above ground cities. After all, there were only a few political asylum sovereigns left like Cascadia in the Pacific Northwest and the islands of the Pacific Ocean, the Polynesian Nations.
On this mission, Commander Caine found herself squeezing through a narrow crawl space crammed with old garbage. Slipping, she landed on the fungus-slimed wall and sent a silent curse as her weapon butted concrete. The sound reverberated off high barrel-vaulted ceilings. Enemy intel’s smart armor skins could triangulate the origin of the sound. In the same moment, she froze hearing sounds of a forced march along tracks a mile behind her. Detecting her, the enemy battalion had doubled back, probably to pick up additional personnel. It was time for her fighters to live up to their nickname, “Bringers of Death”. They never took prisoners. Signaling her team by tapping on her subcu, voices in her head answered in unison, “Commander!”
Her voiceless command replied, “They’re behind us. Alpha teams ahead of me stagger your approach to pairings. Beta teams to the rear in full camouflage…wait until the battalion passes you. Then, and only then, wait for my signal to strike. Alpha you know the drill…once the Beta team acts…. close off any escape. I want zero enemy survivability on this. Lieutenant, I hope this answers your question.”
Her augmented hearing heard movement close in the parallel tunnels nearby. She thought, “Fuck!” This sudden movement acknowledged that the advance scouts had heard the noise she’d made moments ago.
Gaining real estate to outmaneuver, she was on the run. Climbing the access ladders to the old pedestrian platforms she sprinted through groups of startled squatters. Their alarmed shouts went up. It was too late to silence the crowds of families. Eyes wide they watched a UNS crested officer fully activate her liquid armor. Afraid for the inevitability of collateral damage. The warrior shouted a command to the alarmed horde. Flinching at the sound of her own voice as it echoed over the din, “Stay clear of me!”
Continuing her run across a track, Commander Caine drew close enough to discern the rapid breathing and heartbeats of the military contractors. Her skin crawled with the heat of their nearness. It was a small contingent meant to clear a pathway for the battalion following. She tapped her subcu, “Alpha team falls back to engage, Omega it’s on you. Herd the poor bastards toward Alpha and take them out. I can’t afford civilian collateral. I want them gone. Code 7 – complete the cycle. I’ll handle the advance team alone.”
Her second in command asked, “Sir…Permission to clear combatants and initiate Code 7 – no survivors, Sir!”
Commander Caine hissed, “Permission granted”.
She was already advancing on the first of the scout team, a big ruddy redhead. She was at his back before he was aware. Her knife was already drawn. She hooked a left arm around his neck leveraging her blade center chest. Then sucking air, she shoved the blade between the seams of his exoskeleton to find muscle and hard bone. Commander Caine pressed her lips close to the contractor’s ear as he grunted, “You’re a big fuck!” He groaned trying to gain real estate and push her away. She barely registered the hard blow delivered by the more than three-hundred-pounder. She pulled the blade back an inch to reposition. It found another home in his heart. He gasped…blood bubbling over smooth pink lips, “Damn augmented bitch!”
She smiled and whispered, “Yes.”
The lifeless body hit the concrete hard. And then came the soft whimpering of a child. Commander Bey Caine knew that sound well from other missions like this one. She stood to meet the stare of big innocent eyes of a frightened squatter’s child, snatching the small body into her arms at a run. It was already too late. Commander Caine heard contractors’ whispers further down the tunnel. The charges were being set for remote initiation of explosives. The Department never intended for this team of contractors to return. The odor of explosive chemicals filled her nostrils. Quickening her pace with only seconds to transmit the images of the coming blasts to her command, she screamed to whoever could hear her, “Fall back into the manholes under the tracks!”
But she was too late.