‘Damn, I just had this GelCloth BattleBlouse™ made!’ thought Vera, looking down at the dirty, scuffed crimson and lavender armor she had recently purchased at Glisten.
‘Now I’ll have to have it repaired. If that snotty, size 0, bottle blond of a salesgirl says anything snide, I’ll rip her head off and have one of the boys pee down her neck.’ Vera fumed as she remembered her last visit to Ensemble d’Guerre, Glisten’s answer to the infrequently asked question, “where can a real lady combine her love for fashion with her need for ballistic protection?”. The salesgirl, all 40 kilos of her, had rudely asked if Vera “wouldn’t like the waistline a bit less snug?”.
“Hmph!” Vera snorted, her attention returning to the present as another bullet ptanged off the rocks she was hiding among. She sighted in quickly on the crouching Jonkereen fighter, only to see his face explode in a burst of red mist as Vassily’s shot found its mark. Looking back over her shoulder, she glared at him through her night vision visor, hoping he could see her mouthing, ‘fuck off…my kill’.
The mission was going extremely well, she thought. Ham had started things off great with a stealthy recon of the ranch where the bad guys were holding the hostages and the Medusa. They’d decided on a night assault after her lover had mentioned the relative lack of what he termed “cheaters”, or nightvision goggles, for the Jonkereen fighters. He’d also spotted a few professionals, mercs like themselves, which had given the group pause, until it was determined they were just low level street thugs, probably hired for their fancy uniforms more than for any combat ability, and that they should be no match for the Expendables.
Now, with Vera sniping from the rocks to the south of the ranch, backed up by Vassily behind a low wall to her left flank, Ham and the butt pincher were trying to flank the enemy to the northwest. Troll was moving into position to cover them when her comm channel blared to life.
“I eez heet! Damn eeet! I eez…” came the call from Harpoon as his comm channnel went silent.
“What’s going on?” yelled Vera, her question punctuated by the thump of the mortar Neb had set up 30 meters behind her at the ruined farm.
“Uh, the Bionic Man is down.” came the laconic reply, “I’m, uh, moving to flank. Repeat, uh, moving to flank.”
“Gotcha, Rodent of Love!” Vera replied just as Neb’s mortar round finished it’s long trajectory, exploding with a roar in the bed of the lorry parked near the already burning Heli at the main ranch house.
A few minutes and a bit more ammunition later, the flaming truck and Heli now roaring blazes, the vast bulk of the enemy lay dead and the remaining, still conscious Expendables were gathered in a pit near the edge of the ranch’s orchard where they suspected the hostages were being held.
“The door is locked.” Said Neb, never one to belabor the obvious.
“We’ll have to blow it.” replied Vass, “Troll, why don’t you blow the hatch and I’ll lob in a flashbang, then a tranq?”
“No, maybe you should do it.” grumbled Troll.
“No, you do it.”
After a sharp rebuke about ‘wasting time’ from Vera, there followed several attempts, by both men, to blow the door, all failing until the fifth try, when the door simply creaked and fell off, as though teasing them the whole time. Vass, since Troll’s attempt had been the successful one, had dutifully lobbed the grenades through the entrance.
“BANG!”, and “Pop…hiss”, came the noises of the grenades, as a whispy cloud of tranq gas began seeping back out of the entrance.
Carefully fixing his respirator, Vass looked Troll in the eye and said, “You first?” in a muffled voice.
“Yoo furst.” came the equally muffled rumble.
Sensing more than comprehending the hesitant confusion among his fellows, Ham had grumbled, “Ah Fuck it.” and charged into the doorway.
“Always first into the hole!” sighed Vera, following.
Down below, there had raged a ferocious fight. Not just with the remaining Mercs the team had expected, but with two Zhodani mindrapists as well! After Vera was hurled through the air and knocked senseless by the Zho telekinetic, he’d gone down in a hail of Gauss projectiles when his psychic bullet shield had failed. And, when Vass was floored by a burst from one of the mercs Gauss rifle, the nearby team members were startled to see him leap right back up, a feat he later explained by telling them of his special stimpack implant.
Finally, there had been only the single Zhodani bitch left. Walking calmly towards Troll, as he raised his rifle to fire, she put her hands to her temples, screamed, and collapsed to the ground, dead.
“Saved us the trouble.” said Vass flatly.
“If you ignore the blood coming from her eyes,she’s kinda attractive.” mentioned Ham as he stood examining the body.
“Let’s go get the hostages.” said Vera in an exasperated voice, as she punched Ham in the shoulder. The only hostage they found in the cave though was the lone Delgado brother.
“Zees is for Cecilia!” said the now revived Harpoon, as he smacked Hernan Delgado across the face.
“Stop it! We’re here to rescue him!” shouted Vera, catching Harpoon’s shiny steel arm as he drew back for another blow."
“Yeah. Even I knew that.” said Ham.
As the team members variously questioned him, it soon became apparent that Delgado remembered almost nothing of the time that had passed since he and his brother had set out on the Medusa from Eca IV to retrieve Elliot from his temporary refuge on Callia.
Seeing they weren’t going to get any more info from him, the Expendables decided to call it a night and, after retrieving the Medusa from one lonely, scared, slightly stoned Jonkereen guard, they had their hired Engineer quickly perform the life support repairs the ship needed.
Then, they ordered their hired Pilot to “beat it, posthaste” out of Callia’s gravity well before the Jonkereen Water Enforcement Authority fighters could intercept them…