1.4 Special Ops Commander, Seán "Black Hound" Murphy, Veritas Unit, Rasa Blank
"Pick up the pace you dawdlin' shites! We need this kip cleared before sunrise! Get a move on or I'll take your fancy feckin' gene chip cheques and dump them into the Liffey! I'm not messin'! C'mon move it! You! Mustache, help Ginger with that. Ginger don't carry it yourself, who do you think you are? Communication buachaillí! Curly, I'll flatten you if you drop that sod a' brick near there, g'wan, that's right, keep it moving." the aul Dublin Brigade Foreman Ger O'Flaherty was bellowing through a traffic cone, atop a pile of bricks that was being suspended high above us by a weighted down ground crane. I leaned against a crate in the shadows and looked on from a distance, tired eyed. So much work ahead of us and the Brigade and ELF volunteers all grafting hard, lit by blinding, phosphorous addled ground lights running on a big petrol generator. Night was closing in fast and I could see other makeshift lights being hung over every lamp post every couple hundred metres or so flicker on along Amiens Street, off into the dark, sleeping distance. I sat down to clean my prized Fighting 69th pistol. I'd no time to take it apart.
My new Comm-Link was busted but I'd no idea what I'd done to it or how to fix it. I'd have to get someone from R & D before I called it a night. All I was getting was static mixed with pirate channels. Even though we were strictly there on security detail, Gad was down in the muck looking over a broad sheet schematic, instructing a crew of green looking recruits, in his usual animated way. Flinch was down in the pit too, carrying his sod and barking orders. I was glad. They looked full of purpose. They were the kind of guys that would wither to nought if they'd nothing to tackle ahead of them. As soon as I holstered my pistol the petrol generator broke down. Everything went pitch black.
In the dark I could hear a ruckus. The ruckus turned into what I could hear as brawls breaking out. Soon it was pandemonium in the dark, amidst the rubble and debris. I had my knife drawn, one Ratel had given me and told me to keep on me, holstered atop my boots. Someone was in front of me, I could hear. The generator rumbled back on and the lights with it. It was Raven. She had a small assault rifle aimed at me. Her eyes were wide. She fired. I was almost deafened by the shot but I could still hear someone go down screaming behind me. It was a Brigade man. "Calm it! Don't attack Black Hound, Goshawk are wearing the Dublin Brigade and Eesti Vabadusvõim blue armbands. They're everywhere. We're under attack." she said in her matter-of-fact Russian accent. "We need to get these men back into base! My Unit comrades, I need..." She grabbed my shoulders. "We don't know who is who out there. You're comrades can take care of themselves. Please Seán, follow me!" She took me by the hand. "No, Gad and Flinch are still out..." Suddenly there was gunfire from every direction. I took a breath. She was right, they'd be fine I told myself. I followed her into cover and off towards the Northern Liberty Hall Sub-Gates.
1.5 Captain Gad "Patish" Gaster, Veritas Unit, Rasa Blank
"Hizer! Everyone! Into cover! You, drop that wheelbarrow you idio-" His head blew apart. I was drenched in his blood. Bullets tore through the air. My Comms were still all patchy. "Flinch! Do you read me!?" I loaded my pistol. I quickly peered over the mound of bricks I was laying behind. A troop of Goshawk with blue armbands were rushing, trying to get into a flanking position. "O'Flaherty, get down from there and drop the pallet on my mark." I peeped again, the Brigade was getting wiped out, mostly just the new, unarmed workers. Goshawk were collecting their armbands. I seen old man O'Flaherty slide down the safety cables, nimble as a cat and dart into shadowy cover. Goshawk advanced slowly. My Comm buzzed but I switched it off. "Strakhlivtsi!" one of them said, gathering around a panicking young worker. They laughed. They'd thought we'd fled and left him behind. They gathered around the young Dubliner. I stared over at O'Flaherty and made the gesture to release the load. G*d, it was the most disgusting noise I've ever heard. We'd squashed about twelve of them and three others ran away.
Old man O'Flaherty ran and pawed through the bricks, dirt, blood and guts and *hurch* He pulled the young worker out of the trap we'd dropped, like a calf from a cow. Bloody, awful and miraculous. He was trembling. He held on to O'Flaherty for dear life, he mustn't have been older than sixteen. I could see the relief on the Foreman's face before he handed him a pistol. "Attention! Formation! Get in to feckin' line, we're under attack. Captain!?" It took me a moment to respond. Flinch soon appeared with two wounded, draped on his shoulders. "Hold the North entrance, use the wire if you need backup. It's three quick bursts of three. That'll alert us. If you don't hear from us, fight 'til the last!" I found myself saying. I think my mind had blown a fuse. "Flinch, make sure no more of these men die, I need to get to the South Gates." Flinch nodded. "Thank you Foreman O'Flaherty." He just growled. "The Mess! Ara, we'll have to feckin' start all over again tomorrow. No time for ceremony, oh Captain my Captain, we'll hold our ground. G'wan, get lost!" I saluted both him and Flinch and ran to the South Sub-Gates.
1.6 Head of Intelligence, Nastya "Raven" Mikhailovna, Blind Unit, Rasa Blank
This seemed like a frustrated, all in attack from Goshawk. No doubt they let Petrov get away with it on purpose. Seán struggled with his Comms as gunfire, orders and screams carried in the still night air. He was trying to lift Sub Gate #12's shutters by his fingertips. "Black Hound, I know a different way in, it's near here. Hopefully the sewer grate hasn't been covered by..." He turned to me with such swift fury I couldn't respond in time. He had me disarmed, with a clenched fist shaking over me, his other hand pulling my head back by my hair. "Where!?" he roared. Such a temper. So violent and I must confess, so talented. "Near Gate #13, I didn't think it had been cleared yet." He let go of me. "Nastya, I don't have time for your posturing. Show me, now." I lead him to the sewer tunnel. I pointed out it's location and he lifted loose concrete and rebar feverishly away from it. "You first, now!" he said, sweating, pulling up the manhole and casting it aside. I tried to pout but he just shook his head, biting his lower lip in anger. I needed to step carefully from here on in or risk losing everything.
The new, thankfully dry sewer lead us beneath Liberty Halls basement car lot. He had me walk in front of him. "Seán there's a crew, behind the black APC, your far two." We both hunkered down. "Nastya, cover me. I'm trusting you." He shoved his assault rifle into my arms as he made his way from vehicle to vehicle, his knife drawn. I spotted three Spec. Ops Goshawk and our prisoners, the albino Astrid, Petrov's pet sniper from Goshawks Delta Unit and the South African Doctor lady's Journalist friend Granna or Grawna, some strange Irish name. Seán had nearly got to them when I seen who was leading their escape. It was Doppler, Zilch Unit. Far and beyond Goshawk. I felt my blood freeze. I wanted to run but Seán... I couldn't call out. I took aim. I steadied myself by a pillar a bit further up. We hadn't been seen, thank G*d. My arms were shaking.
1.7 Special Ops Commander, Seán "Black Hound" Murphy, Veritas Unit, Rasa Blank
Despite Raven's nonsense I was within touching distance of two of our assets. I looked back at Raven for a bit of guidance but it looked like she'd seen a ghost. I tried to gain her attention. The crew behind the truck hadn't seen me yet, they were speaking German. I didn't know that much but I could gather they had more than our assets and had enough to call a retreat. Outnumbered, considering Raven seemed to have lost her nerve I let their Unit leader walk away upstairs. Three grunts stayed behind. I crawled beneath the big Personnel carrier and waited until they were talking casually. I looked back for Raven. She was gone.
Soon their conversation sounded relaxed enough for me to strike. I slashed the Achilles tendon of one of the Goshawk soldiers closest to me and he dropped along with his rifle. I grabbed it just in time for them to peer under the transit. That was enough. I rolled out of cover and picked up their dropped rifles. I finished each of them with my knife. The car park had boomed with the echo of gunfire so I made sure one last time that Raven was truly missing before running up the stairwell to the entrance lobby. The place was a red mess of bodies, bullet casings and glass.
I helped a barely conscience ELF Comms man who’d called out to me. I brought him some water. He'd no English but his Comm-Link was working fine. As I bandaged a tourniquet for his gushing leg I dialed for central Rasa Comms. I was still blocked out. The fighting seemed to have stopped though. I circled round to the main desk and opened the blast shutters. It was still dark and eerily silent outside. The ELF soldier thanked me in Irish. "Emm... an bhfaca tú... Rasa Blank daoine mór?" He nodded. "Suas staighre. Trí urlár." I rooted around for some pain-killers. "Type 4, le do hoil!" I nodded. "Fine, ceart g’leor." I picked out a pile of them from the many dead Goshawk corpses. "Aitäh, comrade!" he smiled, tears shaking loose from his eyes. I nodded, understanding. I moved him carefully near the stairwell door and asked with my hands "Look out? Feiceann tú?" He nodded, chewing his black pills. I reloaded my rifle on my way up to the third floor.
1.X The Second Battle of Liberty Hall. Day 4,318
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