UCAC Ch. 01

Brunette

So far, this is my favorite series. I hope you all like it as much as I do. I’ve taken special time to put some of my best writing in it.

This story has a lot of ground to cover so please bear with the slow pace. I promise, the payoff will be grand!!

*****

The Finish foot hills were no joke. It was a very cold, rainy wet terrain with gusts of winds that often went past fifty miles an hour. There was little to no food and all the rations had to be imported. You had to be one tough bastard to make it in these parts and indeed I was!

I have no problem with admitting it. I am the shit, will always be the shit and am nothing but the shit! Some say I’m obnoxious, conceited, arrogant, a douchebag… I just know my worth. The reason why? I’m a winged cyborg, one of few in the world and you had to be the best of the best to be able to wing with us.

I go by the name of Merlin, as you’ll soon learn why. My cybernetic suit was based upon the flight profile of a small robust falcon named a Merlin. Now, bare with me. It will get a little more in-depth as I go along. You think you can comprehend? Here we go!

An Illisian scientist named Dumir Aheem created this mesh suit, called Liquid Flesh. It is filled with gelatinous, electron-responsive fluid that acts like muscle when a current runs through it. Not to mention, it weighs virtually nothing but can increase human strength tenfold. This suit was wired into our nervous system, allowing us to to have the finest control over it.

Why, you might ask? Because it was only one part of our suit. Our suit was covered in aerodynamic scutes and actuators that acted like feathers. Again, these scutes were wired into our nervous systems, having pressure, temperature and light sensitive receptors all over them. It made it so we could detect the slightest difference in wind pressure.

The reason for this was because we could fly. The science behind it got rather complicated but it’s not impossible to digest. I stood around five foot eight inches. That means from fingertip to fingertip, I measured the same. At rest, each arm was about twenty five inches long. The primary flight scutes for the suit measured five feet long at their longest point. This means I had a total of sixteen feet of wingspan to work with for flight.

These wings were relatively high aspect ratio with a broad base. They were built for extreme speed. There also was a tail but it was stout and broad, much like the tail of an actual Merlin. It gave me enough agility at high speed and enough stability at low speed. However, I was all about the ambush, using the terrain to my advantage.

Probably the most important aspect of our suits were the foot geer. They were heavy duty, spring loaded mechanical talons that allowed us to have the ability to make vertical take offs and have astonishing sprint speeds. These talons also were our close quarters weapons during flight. We’d often use them to grapple targets which often was much harder than it looked.

You’d think it’d be easy to hit a target while flying, but no. Humans see the world at thirty to sixty hertz. When you commonly travel well over one hundred fifty miles an hour, it simply isn’t fast enough. So, our brains and eyes were genetically and cybernetically enhanced to see the world at one-hundred twenty to two hundred-forty hertz. What did this do? It slowed down the world around us, giving us bird-like reflexes for flight. It meant we could see a lot coming and react to it faster. As a result, it made it much easier to grapple aerial targets with far more accuracy. It wasn’t foolproof but did result in quite a bit more hit targets.

We also had a ranged weapon, a system of momentum propelled darts called, quills that could be fired at targets at high velocity. It was a discreet weapon, relying on the hertz system as well as advanced computational systems to hit targets with extreme accuracy. Basically it was a cross bow on our chest that got a boost from our flying speed.

Today we had one of the more important missions. We were hugged the lower coastal valley, swiftly approaching an insurgent port. These particular insurgents, known as the Cobalt, smuggled the remaining weapons of mass destruction into Russia. We only had a limited amount of time before the weaponry would be smuggled through Finland’s dense forests to the Russian border. We simply didn’t have the clearance to enter Russian airspace which made this mission a really tight operation.

The thing was though, we had just gotten from an extremely brutal mission old Venice. That mission lasted six damn months, two of the months being a back and forth between us and the Cobalt insurgents and we were vastly outnumbered. We lost someone valuable, our Second Wing who stuck his neck out for us forever and always. His death was responsible by a team member who simply could have opened his mouth. One word could have saved Second Wing’s life but it was too late. Now the team member responsible for that death is the intermittent Second Wing and urfa escort it truly revealed a lot about him. The entire thing had us shaken up and it’d be a blatant lie if any of us said we were fine after such a grueling and bloody mission.

Do you know what it’s like to see someone blown up next to you, and there’s little you can do about it? You’re supposed to keep fighting and fight off the reality? Do you know what’s like to be pinned down, not able to move for weeks with supplies running down? Do you know how helpless and frustrated that makes you? Do you know what it’s like to think you’re untouchable in a cybernetic wingsuit, only to be shot down out of your ariel domain by sharpshooters? Do you know what it’s like to realize you’re not invincible, that people will fight you will all they got? Do you know what it’s like to not have the upper hand, come inches away from death? It’s surreal and hard to cope with after the fact but you smile when it’s over. You find reasons to be a changed person! You never view the people you love the same.

When it was all over, I couldn’t stop thinking about him… my one and only. The man who made sure my head was screwed in tight for the past seven years. Watching so many people die around you made you realize that some things that are here to stay need to be cherished and I wanted to cherish him for forever. He was the reason I smiled, sitting on that cold and wet ship, contemplating our loses. When we got back to Finland, it hadn’t even been a day yet, and we were shipped out to fight another battle.

All I wanted to do was be in his arms, and tell him how much I love him, that I never want to let him go. I want to tell him about how so many of our comrades had died before us and we had to sit in their blood, pinned down under enemy fire. I wanted to apologize for being so naive when he was so open to me about the way he felt. I just knew he’d understand but it knew it frustrated the hell out of me not being able to see him, flying over the treetops on yet another mission that would prove to be more trouble than the debriefing suggested.

We weren’t really built for forest missions but the forest team had training mission further up the coast, since their team was still in its infancy. We were considered the Long Wingers, the high speed strike team that specialized in both pursuit and getting in and getting out. However with this mission, we’d be pushed to our limit. We were told that we simply were to kill the insurgents and let the UCMC handle the rest.

Truly, I hated opening for the Marine team. That meant we had a small area to work with and we’d be the targets while they sit back and waited for the job to be done. They were the ones with the heavy artillery yet we were charged with doing their hard work. It truly was another thing that frustrated me.

“You ok Merlin?” Subbu asked. I looked over to him, seeing he was far more hesitant to hug the tree line.

“Yeah…” I sighed.

“We’re coming up fast on the river…” Gyr said.

“Way to state the obvious…” I said, truly hating him. He was such an obnoxious, debonair know it all, I couldn’t stand it. After his stunt in Italy, I could never trust him again…

“Ok, break off formation,” Lead Wing said, “Merlin, Subbu and Tinnu will continue flying the canopy to the target. They’ll be first to strike. Run the targets up the valley into Gyr, Lanner and Saker. Gyr and Saker will go for the vehicles. Lanner and I are going for the catalyst.”

“Yes sir.” I said, turning east towards the bay. The quicker we could get this over with, the better. It was always us small guys charged with doing the heavy stuff.

Subbu and Tinnu were based upon falcons as well, Subbu a hobby, Tinnu a kestrel. Subbu was relatively new, being apart of last year’s batch of recruits. Tinnu on the other hand, has been enlisted since the birth of the program. They differed quite a bit in personas too. Subbu was a very…linear person, often succoming to his overreliance on what he found logical. Tinnu was a very meticulous person, taking the time out to look at every single detail in what he could discern. Then that little mind of his would get to calculating a plan that was normally fail proof. He was the brains of the team and the thing I liked about him was that he didn’t let his brains get in the way of action. He always managed to be one step ahead of his enemies.

The two could out turn me in an aerial acrobatics battle due to having about thirty percent larger tail area than me. Not to mention, they were far slimmer than me. I was considerably more bulky and muscular than either Subbu and Tinnu and had a lot or arm and breast power, power that gave me an acceleration and overall speed boost over either.

I powered over the tree tops, ready to sink my talons into something. My speedometer stated I was pushing one hundred sixty miles an hour and I wasn’t even breaking a sweat yet.

“Slow down…” Subbu said.

“I’m gonna go in low and fast, uşak escort guys. You two stay behind me while I clear out the first boat.” I said.

“You are not a Forest Winger! Slow down before you crash!” Subbu advised.

I was never one to listen to advice, commands or any bullshit. I was here to get this over with so I could pick up where I left off with my love. Feeling the pressure, I sped up, pushing one hundred ninety miles an hour. As I flew closer to the targets, my active sights, a part of my head’s up display, began calculating speed, trajectory and impact force. The targets stood on a ramp, toting heavy equipment from the barge to the docks. I definitely had the element of surprise.

Entering a swift glide, I crooked my wings, letting my talons hang. I descended into the town, unseen as I geared to puncture an insurgent with my talons. Time seemed to slow down as I neared the unsuspecting man. Just as I was about five meters away, they took note of something approaching at extreme speed. However it was too late, my talons gouged deep wounds into the insurgent as the momentum from the glide sent him into the water.

Ascending rapidly, I spread my wings and tail, letting the momentum dissipate on it’s own. As I neared stall speeds, I dropped my tail to the right, entering a tight hammerhead turn. I descended on spread wings, this time not caring for speed. Within a fraction of a second I was back over the insurgents on the ramp.

They obviously didn’t know what was going on, this being easy pickings. I often forgot that I saw the world faster than normal humans, making them appear slow to react and often at their wits end. No, I simply was moving at speeds far too great for them to have normal reaction.

I stretched out my talons, grabbing an insurgent and clamping down as hard as I could. I could hear the crunching of collar bones and ribs as I dragged him off the ramp. He fell into the water, drowning. I came around for another pass, this time, the insurgents being very well aware the were under attack.

They began dragging the crate containing the catalyst back onto the barge, throwing the ramp into the water. Armed guards began firing at me, forcing me to have to fly behind a row of cranes. Tinnu and Subbu came swooping in, quick to fire their quills at the gunmen. I truly hated the usage of quills. They had perfectly good talons but refused to use them.

Subbu banked and weaved through the high stacked crates, showing his great agility and control. It left the insurgents constantly twisting and turning to find his location.

“There was a third!” An insurgent said, looking around the sky. Indeed there was. Tinnu simply kited in the wind above the docks. He scanned the boat with his infrared and biometric sensors, determining that there were over fifty men on the barge.

His scan showed up on everyone’s head up display, being very disconcerting.

“Guys…this mission is a bigger scope than we thought.” He said. He then inverted, wings tucked. He dropped out of the sky down towards the barge, spreading his wings and tail at the very last second, releasing hundreds of quills into every inch of the boat.

The insurgents fired at him, the nimble cyborg powering vigorously to flee the onslaught of bullets. He disappeared behind a row of warehouses. Seeing the three cybernetic raptors vanish from sight, made the insurgents even more jumpy. Their leader, a man with a black cap and dark sweater ran across the bridge of the massive vessel into the cockpit.

“Let’s get out of here while we can…” He said, falling right along with the plan.

“Guys,” Tinnu said over the radio, “We have a bit of a problem.”

“We know, Tinnu! Dozens of guys on a giant three hundred foot long ship that seven cyborgs are supposed to bring down…” I sighed.

“No…” He said.

“What?”

“The barge is heading out the sea! There’s no possible way that thing can head up the river being that size.” Tinnu said.

“He’s right. The naval forces will not engage the barge until we get the insurgents up river.” Subbu responded.

“What kind of bull shit is that? Are they too pretty to get their hands dirty?” I asked, angered by the fact.

“And you need to stop diving in talons first! You have quills for a reason! You’re not a Forest Winger, Merlin!” Subbu scolded.

I ignored him, beginning to circle high above the docks. What could possibly be done to stop this ship from leaving port? I could see the hundreds of quills Tinnu released on the boat as it began to pull out the harbor. The pulsated slowly with infrared LEDS. These were timed bombs!

“Tinnu, I love you!” I laughed.

“Yeah, I’ve been taking some pages out of your book. If the Marines want it, let them fish it out of the bottom of the harbor…” He said.

“Really? And this is how the mission is supposed to go?” Subbu asked, not pleased with either of us.

“When will you realize we’re handed a basket full of shit van escort and expected to make miracles out of it… We’ll we’re going to make miracles today…big…fiery…miracles.” I said, steadily rising on the thermal.

“I’m kind of in agreement with Merlin this go. We’re in way over our heads this time and the people that can help, won’t help!” Tinnu said, rising below me on the same thermal.

“Well, it looks like I’m going to have to take matters into my own hand!” Subbu said, diving down to the barge.

“SUBBU NO!!” Tinnu screamed.

“Ugh, he’s gonna fuck up everything…” I sighed, diving after him.

I caught him midway, forcing him out of his dive.

“What are you doing!” He asked, angered.

“I need you to take a closer look at Tinnu’s scan’s.” I said. Subbu, pulled up the images of the scans, seeing about fifty or so men loading crates onto smaller boats. Still, the armed guards stood like centuries on the bridge, looking around for any signs of us.

“We don’t have much time, Merlin! They’ll be in Danish waters in a matter of minutes!” He said.

“Subbu! They are boarding speed boats inside the ship! The Catalyst is going on one of these speed boats!” I said, hoping he’d see the grander picture.

“That is all the more reason to halt them!” He said, resuming his dive.

“God, you’re such an idiot!” I sighed, ascending back up to Tinnu.

“I was just gonna let to barge get far enough out that I can blow it up without causing damage to the surroundings. Subbu is about to fuck all that up…” Tinnu sighed, entering a slow and shallow glide as the barge sped along.

“Yeah, man… he’s such a stickler for the rules it’s fucking up the win by all means strategy we’ve been trained to incorporate.” I sighed.

“Subbu,” Tinnu said, making radio contact with him, “You’re fucking up the plan…”

“No, I refuse to be a part of your incompetencies!” He responded angrily.

“You know what, blow his ass up…” I sighed.

“Wait.” Tinnu said, waiting for the barge to reach the center of the bay.

Subbu would simply have to be in the blast radius. The idiot swooped out of his dive, firing quills at the gunmen scattered around the ship. He was so agile, capable of reversing over himself with bone shattering ease. If I tried to stay in those turns, I’d black out. I truly commended him for this ability.

Subbu flew around the cockpit of the ship, releasing a fatal quill that pierced the captain’s chest. As the man fell, he grabbed the throttle, the ship coming to a controlled halt. The captain fell, bleeding out on the floor.

“This idiot…” I said, truly frustrated with Subbu.

“I guess I have no choice at this point…” Tinnu sighed. As Subbu flew around the ship, the ship blew up, destroying the bridge and starboard side. It was just enough of a nudge for the remaining crew to launch their speed boats off the sides of the ship.

“At this point, the Marines can take over…” I sighed, watching the dozen or so speed boats speed away in every direction.

Tinnu turned into the wind, hovering on stiff wing beats. He scanned each one of the getaway boats, the ones heading into the valley being the ones that had the catalyst. About four of them headed east towards the Russian border.

“We need to destroy all of these boats…” Tinnu said over the air.

“What the hell just happened?” Subbu asked.

“The plan…” I sighed, diving after the four speed boats that that headed towards the Russian border. They were obviously a diversion but letting them get away was not an option.

I sped past five hundred miles an hour as I ascended out of the dive. My silvery low profile prohibited me from being seen until I was mere meters away from the first boat. I reached out, grabbing the rear mounted engine with my talons. Using the momentum of my dive, I ascended, yanking the engine off the tiny boat.

I turned around, diving on the second boat, piercing it’s hull with my talons. By now, it was clear to them that they were under attack. With their mounted machine guns, they fired heavy slugs. I had to get away. I quickly inverted, sending two quills into the two remaining speed boats before returning to the coast.

One by one, the floating men were dragged beneath the surface of the sea. Shimmering darting blurs, grabbed the insurgents, yanking them down to the depths of the sea bottom. Not long after, the entire boats were pulled below the surface. This was the work of the Mers, the UCMC. They had ships, submersibles, cybernetic swimmers and all the heavy artillery. Their forces outnumbered ours ten to one but they never got involved with any conflicts. It truly was mind boggling because they could be a truly unstoppable force but they held back.

It was just strange. I continued towards the coast, looking for Subbu and Tinnu.

“I’m in pursuit of the catalyst. Gyr and Saker, I’m heading your way.” Tinnu said over the air.

“We see you…” Saker said, anticipating the pursuit.

“Sending you scans now…” Tinnu responded.

“I’m on my way!” I said.

I quickly looked over to Subbu who fired a barrage of quills at the speedy vessels. He then turned towards the coast, speeding above the water at one hundred eighty miles an hour.

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